David DeLuz, right (talking to Sacramento City Councilman Jay Schenirer), resigned as the CEO and President of the Greater Sacramento Urban League on May 13. James Shelby, who led the organization for 17 years until he retired in 2008, has returned to GSUL in an interim role, the board announced (OBSERVER photo by Antonio R. Harvey).

SACRAMENTO – The Greater Sacramento Urban League’s Board of Directors released a statement Wednesday that David DeLuz has resigned as President and Chief Executive Officer after nearly four years in the top position for the local League (GSUL).

In a telephone interview, DeLuz told The OBSERVER that he submitted his resignation letter to the board on May 13. In the statement from the GSUL, the board announced that James Shelby, former GSUL president, the person DeLuz replaced in 2008 following his retirement, will be filling in as interim President and CEO.

DeLuz did not specify his reasons for the surprising departure, though he lamented that his experience at the GSUL was gratifying and the staff at the facility in Del Paso Heights was a great unit to work with professionally.

“I will continue to love the Urban League organization and everybody that I worked with … but I think it’s best that I move on,” DeLuz told The OBSERVER.

“I wish the organization nothing but the best. It was the greatest experience of my life and I was blessed to serve as CEO and President,” DeLuz added.

GSUL Board spokesperson Susan Irwin issued the statement regarding DeLuz’s resignation and Shelby’s return.

She said, “On behalf of the Greater Sacramento Urban League Board of Directors, I am saddened to announce the resignation of Mr. David DeLuz from his position as President & CEO, effective immediately.”

“We wish to thank Mr. DeLuz for his leadership and commitment to the Greater Sacramento Urban League’s mission and to this community,” Ms. Irwin added.

Selected by the League’s board of directors in July 2009, DeLuz became the sixth president and Chief Executive Officer for the GSUL. He brought a strong track record of responsible leadership, advocacy and service to the non-profit organization.

DeLuz’s responsibilities entailed leading the organization to assist “all people in achieving self-sufficiency and equality” as well as promoting advocacy, education and collaborative partnerships.

During his tenure, DeLuz spoke out against cuts to the state’s Medicaid program (known as Medi-Cal), misconduct and intimidation practiced by the Twin Rivers Unified School District Police Department, participated in forums that aimed to reduce the achievement gap for African American students in the Sacramento region, and collaborated with local clergy to find solutions to create healthy and safe neighborhoods.

DeLuz joined the Greater Sacramento Urban League after more than five years of service within the administration of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. He first served as a Deputy Appointments Secretary and later as the Chief Community Liaison and Deputy Director of the Division of Community Partnerships, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

DeLuz previously served as Director of Communications and Community Relations for the Grant Joint Union High School District, and also as a Consultant to the Senate Joint Committee on Prison Construction and Operation. A former president of the Sacramento NAACP, DeLuz also served as an adjunct professor of Government and Public Policy and Administration at California State University, Sacramento and California State University, Fullerton.

Though he was known more for his advocacy work than fund raising, many leaders in the community applauded DeLuz’s hiring in 2009.

He took over the GSUL during a tough financial period, triggered by the downturn in the Sacramento region’s economy. Many supportive businesses and work programs cut their support which affected the Urban League’s ability to help train individuals for employment.

“I was proud of the work we were doing,” DeLuz told The OBSERVER.

“But that was a very hard time and I had to lead the organization through one of its toughest periods. I faithfully did everything I could do,” he added.

Ms. Irwin said DeLuz should be commended for his professional efforts and she is sure that he will continue to enhance his career and stay dedicated to the community of Sacramento.

“We know that he is moving on to better things,” Ms. Irwin said. “But running a non-profit is never easy. We appreciate everything he did while he was here,” she said.

Ms. Irwin stated that the GSUL board will have a meeting on May 28 to discuss plans for selecting DeLuz’s permanent replacement. A search committee is expected to open a national search for the position.
By Antonio Harvey
OBSERVER Staff Writer