Fayette County

Lexington organization AVOL dismisses executive director

The board of AVOL has dismissed the organization's executive director, Mark Royse.

Tami Damron, director of client programming, has been named interim executive director.

AVOL, which has 14 full-time employees, provides housing and support to people in Central and Eastern Kentucky who have been diagnosed with AIDS and HIV. The organization also works to prevent the spread of HIV and provides free HIV testing.

Daniel Cooper, president of AVOL's board of directors, announced the change to the organization's supporters in an email message Friday afternoon, saying the "move signifies a commitment on the part of the board to the overall health and stability of the agency."

In a telephone interview Monday afternoon, Cooper declined to specify what led to the dismissal, saying the board's policy was not to comment on personnel issues.

"This just signifies a new direction that the board is going with the agency," he said. "The board agreed that it was time for some new leadership and a fresh take."

He said the departure "was on good terms, and there is no animosity between him and the board."

Cooper said a search committee had been formed to look for a permanent replacement for Royse, who had worked for AVOL for almost seven years.

When Royse took over, Cooper said, the organization was "in a pretty precarious situation" financially, but he said AVOL now is debt-free and on track to end the current fiscal year in the black for the second year in a row.

Royse posted a statement on his personal Facebook page Friday afternoon, confirming he was "no longer the executive director of AVOL."

"This is the only comment I will make on the board's decision except to wish AVOL, its staff, volunteers and clients the best for the future," Royse wrote. "Thanks to everyone for your generosity and support during my time at the agency. I encourage you to continue to support AVOL in its important work of stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS and empowering those affected. There is still much to be done."