After claiming earlier this month that there were no qualified candidates of color who applied to be chief operating officer, the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau will start over with a search firm, according to a statement released on Monday.

Carole Copeland Thomas is a longtime board member who says her multicultural committee should have been consulted right from the start on the search for a new COO.

Copeland Thomas — who is African-American — says she believes this is a case of unconscious bias, and that she told board leaders— who are white — that a different approach is needed.

"In this day and time, particularly in this city," Copeland Thomas said, "you cannot expect a level of diversity throughout if the decision-makers are all white. That just doesn't make any sense at all."

She says she and other African Americans on the board could have been tapped to help find talented applicants of color.

Copeland Thomas says she was not informed of the first search committee, led by board members, all of whom are white.

"And to actually promote diversity strategically with all white people, that's difficult. You have to be inclusive, and certainly that was a misstep," she said.

Copeland Thomas says leaders of the board have told her they regret that misstep.

She says she hopes she and other members of the board's multicultural committee will be included in the new COO search and that diversity will be a priority in all hiring at the bureau from now on.