Local Civic Group In Turmoil, Cancels Meetings

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT)-Turmoil and division appear to be rocking one of north Alabama's most active community advocacy groups.

The South Huntsville Civic Association has cancelled all of its meetings for the rest of this year, with board members pitted against each other over the group's long-term direction, as well as wording on its website.

The divide went public at the SHCA's last meeting earlier this month, when board members voted to cancel the rest of the 2012 monthly meetings by a 7-6 vote. The reasons for the divide are somewhat unclear, but sources tell WHNT News 19 that part of the conflict centers around a disagreement over how politically active the SHCA should be.

We're told that some board members expressed concern over a decision by at least one of their colleagues to use the SHCA name in opposing a recent statewide referendum issue. SHCA President Jeannee Gannuch declined WHNT News 19's request for an on-camera interview, but did say that the group's website was displaying inaccurate information that was published by the SHCA webmaster. Sources told WHNT News 19 that the webmaster is one of the board members opposing the president.

Gannuch's statement reads: "We sincerely apologize for the inaccurate and unauthorized statement which has been posted on the SHCA website. This breach is being addressed. SHCA activity has not been suspended. While our board of directors does not plan to meet again until January, we contrinue to function in our regular roles and may communicate on a regular basis. Huntsville Housing Authority activities continue to be monitored, and our board will convene if any movement is detected which requires action."

WHNT News 19 did contact several South Huntsville Civic Association board members, but all of them were either unavailable or declined to comment. In recent meetings, the SHCA endorsed north Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks (R) for reelection, but opted against endorsing a candidate in the Huntsville mayoral race.

According to its website, SHCA is a non-partisan PAC that was founded in 2009. The group lists its mission as "dedicated to the preservation of property values, free markets, excellence in education, and citizen awareness."

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