PRESIDENT’S REPORT- JUDY HART
Everything changes and nothing remains still (Heraclitus)
After twenty-seven years as the only full-time Executive Director the ACLU of Montana has had, Scott Crichton leaves this organization stronger than ever and poised to write the next chapter. His greatest contribution has been setting an ambitious vision and delivering on it over and over again. Since 1988, Scott has built an effective organization championing the rights of all Montanans. He assembled an excellent team of accomplished professionals who are dedicated and passionate about their work for the ACLU-MT.
Scott took a leadership role in building statewide coalitions around choice, death penalty abolitions, and safe schools for GLBT students. He generated bipartisan support for wide scale institutional change with legislation creating the nation’s first Public Defender System based on American Bar Association standards; passing statewide resolutions opposing the USA Patriot Act in 2005 and READ ID in 2007. Scott’s coalition work on the death penalty has attracted national attention and support. Under his direction, the ACLU of Montana is acknowledged as being ambitious, accountable, collaborative and strategic. This is but a small glimpse over a remarkable career of the many issues the ACLU-MT has tackled under his leadership.
Congratulations to Scott as he sets his sights on a new adventure, a well deserved retirement! We know Scott won’t be far from the ACLU and will always be a resource for us. As we move through this transition the staff remains committed to their work and the board is strong and engaged. The programs - legal, education, legislative policy and issue-related organizing are well thought out and goals being met.
Knowing the transition will be a big change for the affiliate, the board and staff engaged in a facilitated succession planning discussion in June of 2014. Feedback from key stakeholders like supporters, cooperating attorneys and coalition partners was solicited. With support from ACLU National, the board secured the services of professional recruiters who have worked with other ACLU Affiliates across the country. The board appointed a search committee consisting of several long-time ACLU-MT board members (over 30 years of experience combined). Serving on the committee were Dennis Taylor, committee chair, Sheila Bonnand, Mary Hernandez, Joe Howell, Nancy Nicholson, Brigitte Tuller, and Judy Hart; four have served as president of the board, two as treasurer and two as representatives to the national board. A comprehensive regional and national search was conducted that produced a diverse and highly qualified pool of candidates. Over the course of several months, the committee dedicated their time and expertise to achieve a thoughtful and fully vetted process.
The board and staff are pleased to welcome Caitlin Borgmann as the new Executive Director of the ACLU-MT. Caitlin will be taking the reins of the organization in August. A graduate of Hellgate High School in Missoula, Caitlin has strong ties to Montana. She brings experience at the staff, local board and national board levels with the ACLU, and has strong crossover skills as a litigator, as an advocate and as an educator. She helped pioneer integrated advocacy when she worked directly with ACLU affiliates across the country. A committed team player, Caitlin’s strong leadership skills and deep commitment to the work of the ACLU will lead the organization to new heights as we champion the rights of Montanans.