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Burnett refuses to resign NAACP post

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RUSTY WELLER
Ellis County Press Managing Editor
WAXAHACHIE - Despite bylaws, Ellis County area NAACP President Victor Burnett is refusing to resign either of his two elected posts.

'I'm not going to resign,' Burnett told the Ellis County Press. 'The national office is going to have to tell Victor Burnett to step down.'

Burnett came under fire when he didn't resign as branch president after being elected to the Ferris City Council in last May's election. According to National Association for the Advancement of Colored People bylaws, he cannot hold two elected posts.

The eligibility of Burnett and other officers was questioned at a July 24 branch meeting, but no action was taken. The national office reportedly has asked for information on Burnett and First Vice President Betty Jefferson before making an official response.

Both Burnett and Jefferson called for an end of strife among members. Jefferson, who reportedly also has a second elected position with a women's Democratic organization, said the real issue was 'about getting back on the right track and being visible in the community.'

Burnett said it is time to put squabbles aside and 'focus again of the organization's goals' for the benefit of the area.

'We have one member of this branch who has a problem with me serving,' said Burnett, who declined to mention a name.

'This branch is not for sale,' he said. 'I'm about looking at issues arising in this county. I am visible in the community. I'm on top of most everything happening in the area.

'To accomplish our goals, we need to work with black and white, Democrat and Republican,' he said. 'We have members of both parties as members of this organization.'

As for the issue of branch presidents serving additional roles, 'that's nothing new to the NAACP,' he said. 'We have several serving as elected officials throughout Texas. It's been happening for decades.'

Burnett said he initially expected to do as other presidents and offer a resignation the branch would decline, thus allowing him to serve in both rules under NAACP bylaws.

Clouding the issue is an apparent snag involving Jefferson, who reportedly was 15 days short of the 180-day membership requirement to be eligible for the post.

Long-time member Lillie Pointer told members a resignation by Burnett couldn't be accepted because it would leave the chapter without official leadership. She cited problems with Jefferson and Second Vice President Broderick Sargent.

Pointer said the NAACP's national office told her it doesn't consider Jefferson an officer. She also said Sargent hasn't completed training for his office, leaving no line of succession should Burnett resign.

Jefferson, though, denied Pointer's claim, saying the national office told her the length of membership was a moot point unless her position was contested.

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