The Executive Transition You Want to Avoid

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Executive transition

March 24, 2015;Buffalo Business First

Journey’s End Refugee Services in Buffalo is looking uncertain leadership in the face again as they deal with the third departure of an executive director within less than a year.

It started with the resignation of Molly Short, who had been in the position for six years. She was succeeded by an internal interim, Jeffrey Ogilvie, who held the reins for around six months until the group chose for its next leader a very seasoned manager from a far larger agency.

Al Dirschberger took the position at Journey’s End on January 20th as executive after spending 28 years’ tenure at another local nonprofit, Gateway-Longview. But now, in a little more than two months, Dirschberger is almost certainly leaving since, pending approval of the county commission, he is slated to become the county’s new commissioner for social services.

The board’s chairwoman, Mary Cummings, is handling the situation with public aplomb. “The board has a transition plan in place,” she said. “We’re not back to square one, just a couple steps backward. We are moving forward. We’re not going to let this deter us from any of our goals.” We can only imagine the angst behind such a statement.

Meanwhile, Dirschberger’s hiring announcement is still posted on the Journey’s End website, and the PR staff is answering media inquiries, saying, “We wish Dr. Dirschberger all the best and are happy to have had the benefit of his leadership.”

All we can say is that Dirschberger may wish to consider how he can make amends to the agency—large donations perhaps, if that is not a conflict in his new position.

—Ruth McCambridge