PHILADELPHIA In ongoing changes at the local chapter of the NAACP, a new slate of officers has taken over leadership of the organization.

Carl Fitchett, pastor emeritus of Mount Moriah Temple Baptist Church in South Philadelphia, was named the new president of the chapter.

The other new officers are Rodney Muhammad, first vice president; Rahim Islam, second vice president; Jennifer Whitfield, third vice president; and Shirley Jordan, assistant secretary.

Gill Ford, the NAACP national director of unit administration, said the appointments were made last week following the suspension of president J. Whyatt Mondesire.

The changes were first reported Wednesday by the Philadelphia Tribune.

Mondesire was suspended by the national chapter this month along with three chapter members - Donald Birts, Sid Booker and the Rev. Elisha Morris - after a dispute among them went public.

The three had criticized Mondesire's handling of chapter finances, claiming that money earmarked for the NAACP chapter had been directed to a nonprofit with ties to Mondesire. They are appealing the national NAACP's suspension, said their lawyer, Isaac Green.

Mondesire publishes the Philadelphia Sunday Sun. Through an assistant at the Sun, he referred all questions to the national office of the NAACP.

Fitchett said in an interview that Mondesire, the local chapter's long-standing leader, "did a great job" and he would not oppose his return.

He said the greatest challenge before the local chapter, with membership of about 4,000, will be maintaining unity.

Of the organization, he said, "They have focus, they have a mission. They just need to stay together."

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