Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Justice Coalition Director Resigns amid Culture Shift; Board Vice Chairman Points to Group's Move toward a More Secular Approach

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Justice Coalition Director Resigns amid Culture Shift; Board Vice Chairman Points to Group's Move toward a More Secular Approach

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Scanlan

After two decades working with, then leading, a nonprofit agency that has helped thousands of Jacksonville-area crime victims, Justice Coalition Executive Director Ann Dugger has resigned.

Dugger's farewell statement says her departure stemmed from a disagreement over the direction of the group that she and a victim helped establish in 1995.

Dugger was out of town and did not return calls made to her cellphone. But in a brief email statement early Friday, Dugger said the decision to retire was made "after much prayer."

"Changes were made that I could not agree with, therefore I made the decision to leave the organization that has been a part of my life," Dugger said. "But for me personally, I saw that it was time to step aside. I am so grateful to have been able to help hundreds of crime victims, survivors and families of missing loved ones throughout the years, and my heart will continue to be tied to the mission that Ted Hires founded all those years ago."

Board vice chairman Ray Pringle said he is saddened by Dugger's departure, calling her a "wonderful warrior" for the people. He said some board members who are now gone had wanted to make changes in the way the coalition operated, and that could have been one of the "changes" that led Dugger to retire.

"There were some directions I saw that we were taking that I didn't feel was a proper way for a faith-based organization," said Pringle, also pastor of Calvary Chapel Church of God. "Some of them wanted to take it in a direction that would lead the organization as less faith-based and more secular. ... It's been tough with the board of directors making those decisions and me as a pastor, and wanting to leave Jesus out of the mix is something I wasn't in favor of."

The Justice Coalition was founded by Hires in 1995 after he was robbed at a Sonny's restaurant he owned on Lane Avenue. …

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