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    President of United Way resigns

    By CURTIS KRUEGER, Times Staff Writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published March 15, 2003

    Doug Weber, who helped lead a newly merged Pinellas-Hillsborough United Way and weathered a particularly difficult fundraising year, resigned as the charity's president on Friday.

    His resignation appeared to be abrupt and was announced in a news release that stated he was quitting "effective today."

    United Way board chairwoman Robin Carson said Weber's leaving was not the result of financial irregularities, issues that have surfaced at separate United Way organizations in other cities. "There is nothing wrong with the finances or the books," she said.

    She said Weber asked to resign to pursue other opportunities.

    "He was not asked to leave. He resigned and he resigned for his own personal reasons," said Carson, who also is executive vice president and general manager of Busch Gardens.

    She said she was certain Weber was "disappointed as a lot of us were" in the difficulty of fundraising this year. But Carson said she did not think that was a major reason for his resignation. All sorts of charities have been struggling financially in this economic climate, she said. "This is just a tough year."

    Weber could not be reached for comment Friday. The United Way of Tampa Bay has raised about $21.5-million and expects to collect a projected $23-million by this summer. That's short of the charity's goal of $25.5-million.

    The interim director will be Diana Baker, who has been the organization's chief operating officer and has 24 years of experience with the United Way. Several board members expressed confidence in Baker and said she would make strong candidate to fill the job permanently if she pursued it.

    "The United Way is in good hands, because Diana Baker is a long-term, very valuable employee," said board member Linda Simmons, of R.R. Simmons Construction Corp.

    Carson said she intended to present the board with suggestions on how to proceed at a March 26 meeting. She would not disclose whether Weber received severance pay.

    Weber was selected in late 2001 to help lead the Pinellas and Hillsborough United Way organizations into a single merged group called the United Way of Tampa Bay. The organization merged last summer.

    Weber previously led the United Way of Lake County in Green Oaks, Ill., and the United Way of Chemung County in Elmira, N.Y. He also has been a member of the National Professional Council of the United Way of America, an influential 60-member group of United Way executives.

    -- Curtis Krueger can be reached at or (727) 893-8232.

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