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Kelsey Not to Renew

American Topical Association executive director Douglas A. Kelsey has decided not to renew his contract with the organization when it expires June 30. Kelsey, who also is executive director of the American First Day Cover Society, added the ATA duties in 1995. The announcement is made in the January-February issue of the society's journal, Topical Time.

A source tells the Virtual Stamp Club Kelsey feels the ATA doesn't fit into his future plans as an association manager. Although his contract with the AFDCS expires on the same date, the source says that organization is a closer match. The contract with the ATA requires six months notice, with the AFDCS, 30 days.

According to journal editor and Director George Griffenhagen, the deadline for applications is March 15. Interviews will be held during April, and a new executive director chosen by May 1. The successful candidate will start June 1, with a one-month overlap period before Kelsey leaves.

Those interested in applying for the position should send their resumes and letters of application to American Topical Association president Dorothy Smith, 240 South Reynolds Street, #306, Alexandria, Virginia 22304.

Griffenhagen expressed disappointment at Kelsey's decision. "A number of the Board of Directors contacted Doug, including myself and president Dorothy Smith, asking him to reconsider," he told the Virtual Stamp Club

Among the accomplishments Griffenhagen cited during Kelsey's tenure as executive director was the establishment of the ATA insurance program, handled by former American Philatelic Society insurance plan manager W. Danforth Walker.

"We will be handling our own conventions starting this year in Falls Church, Virginia," he added. "Up until now, it was turned over to local clubs. We're coordinating the entire convention."

However, last Fall, National Topical Stamp Show chairman Steven M. Ripley resigned suddenly. Ripley is also chairman of AMERICOVER, the American First Day Cover Society's annual convention and stamp show. AMERICOVER 97 was held in the same hotel that the ATA convention will be held in this year.

Also under Kelsey, the entire administration of the ATA was computerized, and the most successful fund-raising campaigns in the society's history were conducted. The organization also published a second edition of its popular Adventures in Topical Collecting, by Griffenhagen and ATA founder Jerome Husak.

Griffenhagen says there are no "leading candidates" at this time, and acknowledges the change in executive director will probably mean relocation of ATA's Central Office, which is currently in commercial office space in the Kleindale Office Park in Tucson, and shared with the AFDCS, although the two organizations maintain separate telephone lines and office equipment. Under founder Jerome Husak, the ATA's office was located in Husak's native Milwaukee; when Donald Smith was executive director, it was in Johnstown, PA, where he lived.

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