Dr. John Lahey, chairman of the Board of Directors of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade, will step down from the position after the 2018 march, or possibly sooner if board directors wish to elect a new chairman.
As reported in last week’s Irish Voice, Lahey sent a letter to the parade’s affiliated organizations on April 25, offering solutions to the impasse between the board and the affiliate groups that are angered at what they see as their diminished role in the direction and organizing of the parade.
In the letter, Lahey said that board, in its post-parade meeting last month, briefly discussed a succession plan, “a topic we will return to at our next meeting,” he wrote.
“With the completion of the 2016 parade, I indicated I am happy to step down as chairman at any time a majority of the Board of Directors wants to elect a new chairman. Also, I informed the board that under no circumstances would I be willing to continue serving as chairman beyond the 2018 parade.
“The board was asked to give consideration prior to our next meeting to possible candidates we might consider for the vacant position of vice chairman of the board and along with it, possible candidates for our next chairman.”
With regard to the affiliates, who will hold their own meeting on parade matters this Thursday evening, May 5, Lahey said the board discussed “how best to strengthen the role of the affiliated organizations in the governance structure of the parade.
“No vote or action was taken with respect to this topic, although I can report that the board expressed overwhelming support for allowing the affiliated organizations to decide for themselves their preferred structure between the current one or an alternative.”
Lahey offered two choices for the affiliates: to keep the parade committee they elected last November headed by John Tully which could work with the board on next year’s march, or approve four new members of the board of directors who would be the presidents of the AOH, the Ladies AOH, the United Irish Counties and the Grand Council of Emerald Societies.
The four new board members would be “full voting members just like all the other board members,” Lahey wrote.
“When these groups periodically elect new officers the newly elected president would replace the former president on the board, and in the case of the AOH and Ladies AOH, it would be their call as to whether they prefer their representative to be the president of their national, state or local entity.”
Lahey said that in his last meeting with Tully he discussed the possibility of naming the four new board members, and asked Tully to reach out to the current presidents for their thoughts.
At the board of directors meeting last month, Lahey and the board praised the affiliates and parade volunteers, he wrote.
“Several board members commented that thanks to this collective effort we all enjoyed one of our best parades ever.”