Florida Keys News
Thursday, October 11, 2012
AIDS Help director returns to previous position

Three months after he was unanimously chosen as executive director of AIDS Help, Joe Pais on Wednesday returned to his former job at the nonprofit, which focuses on grant writing.

Pais met with the board of directors to finalize the job change that he wanted and announced it at a staff meeting, said board member Marcus Varner.

Assistant Director Scott Pridgen will serve as acting director. But the agency is not planning a new search for the top position.

AIDS Help, which earlier this year launched a national search for a new leader in light of Robert Walker's retirement, has no plans to hire anyone else at this time, said Varner.

The board of directors has its hands full, having met over the past several weeks reviewing audits and the budget.

AIDS Help ended the 2012 fiscal year with $5.9 million in net assets, having spent $4 million for the year, according to its financial statements.

Pais, a former Key West city commissioner and cable company manager in the Keys, began volunteering with the agency two years before it was incorporated in 1986.

"I know every single department; I've written grants for them," Pais told a search committee in June at a public interview.

The executive director's job pays $131,955 in total compensation for fiscal year 2013, according to documents filed with the county.

The board's priority now is to determine the nonprofit's needs, said Varner.

The board plans to meet with a consultant who will size up those needs and make recommendations on how to meet them and stay within the annual budget.

Another change

Also Wednesday, AIDS Help lost an eight-year veteran of the agency.

The board and Director of Client Services Patrice Sanders "agreed to part ways," said Varner.

Sanders had made the short list for the executive director job, along with Pais and Guardian Ad Litem Director Alexsandra Leto.

The particulars were confidential, as they related to a personnel matter, Varner said. Sanders couldn't be immediately reached Monday night.

Walker led the nonprofit for 12 years before stepping down as he is battling cancer.

When Walker was first hired in 2001 to run AIDS Help, he tapped Pais as his deputy, which was Pais' title before the board gave him the top job in June.

gfilosa@keysnews.com

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