Gulfport Little League is facing challenges off the field once again.
Presidential elections for the Gulfport Little League board held in October have been voided due to elections not being held at the proper time.
“It was a violation of the constitution,” said Denise Lowe. “Nothing has been done by the book.”
Lowe, who states she reluctantly accepted the nomination and won the subsequent election on October 3, was the incoming president of Gulfport Little League until last week when the elections were called into question.
“We should have had the elections in September, but we never did,” Lowe said.
Since the elections were held outside the rules of Little League, the October 3 election is null and void and Gulfport Little League will revert back to its previous administration, lead by Paul Latragna.
“The elections must take place on the third Saturday of September with 10 days written notice,” Latragna said.
Latragna, who is again the sitting president until the elections have been straightened out, turned to the Florida District 5 Little League officials for guidance on how to remedy the situation.
“At this time any election that may occur could be contested and found a violation of that constitution,” Latragna said in an email. “For that reason we are subjecting to the decision of the district 5 administrator.”
An emergency meeting of the board of directors for the league in response to not only the improper election, but to take disciplinary action against Lowe for “conduct detrimental to the operation of Gulfport Little League and for conducting business without the consent or permission of the board of directors.”
Outrage flew at the meeting held Monday night, November 2, at the Lum Atkinson field offices at Tomlinson Lake Park in Gulfport. Lowe was at one point accused of stealing an office laptop, which was then found in the office during the meeting.
Ultimately, no disciplinary action was taken at the meeting. Latragna has declined to comment on any disciplinary action that may or may not be taken against Lowe, however on Monday, November 9, Latragna sent a cease and desist letter to Lowe to prevent her from posting anything on social media disparaging the Gulfport Little League or members of its board.
Gulfport Little League’s difficulties do not end with administrative issues, however. According to Lowe, due to continued low player turnout as well as lack of volunteers, Gulfport Little League may have to merge with Baypoint Little League and/or Southwest Little League. That would require a restructure of the board and management, and it is still unknown how or if this will affect the upcoming Little League season in Gulfport.