Former Police Chief Wray focuses on finances as new Urban League - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Former Police Chief Wray focuses on finances as new Urban League president

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Former Madison Police Chief Noble Wray says he'll focus on finances as he takes over as interim president of the Urban League of Greater Madison.

At league headquarters, Wray was announced as the non-profit group's leader for an estimated six month period, surrounded by league board of director members and community leaders. Wray tells 27 News the idea of leading the organization came together in a week's time.

Wray also says his priorities include making sure the Urban League delivers on commitments to community partners for services, and to continue to address disparity in the community between racial groups.

"I think this community is poised to actually start doing something regarding race, disparity and equity," Wray says.

Wray succeeds Kaleem Caire, who served as president for four years and unsuccessfully pushed for the Madison school district to establish a charter school with a focus on minority youth. Caire, who will stay with the organization until later this month,  did not attend the event announcing Wray's hire.

A post on Caire's Facebook page indicated the demands of the job were affecting his health. But Urban League board chair Wade Harrison also says questions were raised about Caire's use of the organization's credit card, although it was not the reason for his departure.

An independent audit of the Urban League's expenses and credit card usage is taking place.

Harrison declined to specify the nature of Caire's credit card charges, and the amount of money involved, but said board members have looked at the issue and are satisfied nothing extreme took place.

United Way Executive Director Leslie Howard says her non-profit group contributes $300,000 to the Urban League. Howard says she's satisfied with assurances from the League's board members, and says the audit's information will be helpful.

Howard praised the selection of Wray, and said his community stature and experience will be invaluable as the Urban League transitions.

"He is impeccable in terms of partnering, community, integrity, transparency," Howard says.

Wray was with the Madison Police department for more than three decades, finishing his law enforcement career as chief, and retiring last fall.

Wray has worked as a consultant since his retirement, but tells 27 News he will only handle limited, previous consulting commitments while serving as interim president. Wray says he does not have an interest in continuing in the position permanently.

Wray's salary was not announced. The group's most recent, publicly available tax documents show Caire's salary was $111,000 in 2011.

Wray says it's vital the Urban League retain a seat at the table of community stakeholders as Madison continues to come to grips with gaps in achievement in education between majority and minority students, higher incarceration rates for African-Americans, and other issues.

Wray and others praised Caire's leadership, as the number of youth and adults served by the Urban League grew substantially during his tenure, jobs projects expanded, tutoring programs for students were created, and Caire's push for the charter-style, Madison Prepatory Academy spurred discussion of strategies to address the educational achievement gap. 

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Urban league of Greater Madison board member Frank Byrne confirms to 27 News former Madison Police Chief Noble Wray will become the organization's interim president. An official announcement is set for early Friday afternoon.

Wray left the police department late last year after more than eight years as chief. He's taking over after the recent departure of president Kaleem Caire.

Caire's tenure included his push for the establishment of Madison Prepatory Academy, a proposed charter school focusing on students of color. The proposal was rejected by the Madison School Board, but the proposal sparked more community discussion on the racial achievement gap in Madison schools.

In a Facebook post, Caire cited the demands of the job's impact on his health as a factor in his decision. Harrison also said Urban league leaders questioned Caire's use of the organization's credit card, but said Caire's actions involved nothing illegal, and his departure was not based on the credit card use.

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