Thursday, December 27, 2012

LD 25 Meetings and the Rule of Law

The ongoing saga of the LD 25 elections has many facets and players, but at its core it really boils down to one issue:  The rule of law. Do we support it or don't we?

According to our governing Bylaws and, more importantly, State Statute, Chairman Haney and the MCRC do NOT have the authority to invalidate district elections.  Even if they did, the way the investigation and invalidation of LD 25's elections happened violated open meeting laws and the due process rights of every member of the board who had their election overturned.  In addition, as noted previously on this blog, there was no fraud discovered during the investigation, only some carelessness by the Credentials & Tally Committee regarding 5 proxies and the inclusion of numerous PCs on the State Committeemen ballot who had not qualified to be there according to the requirements of the Bylaws.

LD 25's State Committeemen election needs to be re-done because of the inclusion of PCs who had not qualified to be on the ballot.  Two meetings have been called.  One to be held on January 2, 2013 and another to be held on January 9, 2013.

The meeting being called for on January 9th is problematic in several ways:
  • It is being called less than 10 days before the MCRC Statutory Meeting on January 12th.  A meeting held that late cannot actually nominate candidates to become SCs.  At that point only Chairman Haney can appoint our delegation.
  • It is changing the Bylaws without a vote of 2/3 of the PCs by allowing for the submission of new Nomination Questionnaires after the deadline of September 30th.
  • It penalizes those who complied with the Bylaws by making them run a second time, and gives those who did not an unfair "second chance" to do it right.  Think about this:  If you had recently won an election and your opponent asked for a do-over of the entire election because they hadn't filled out their forms correctly in the first place - would you just roll over and let that happen?  Of course not!  That is why elections have rules - even district elections.
  • According to the MCRC Bylaws, after December 10, 2012 neither the district nor the county chairman can call for a new district meeting on their own authority.  A new meeting can only be called upon the request of 10% or more of the PCs in the district.  This meeting was not called at the request of the PCs.
  • It is too late to send out an official call for a meeting that will allow us to actually certify our nominations for State Committeemen.  The last day that could be done was December 21st.
In contrast, the meeting on January 2nd:
  • Will be held in time to have our nominations for State Committeemen certified to the MCRC before the MCRC Statutory Meeting.
  • Will adhere to the Bylaws regarding who can be on the ballot based on who submitted the required forms by the September 30th deadline.
  •  Will not penalize those who complied with the Bylaws by submitting the forms in a timely manner.
  • Was called at the request of over 13% of the PCs in the district
  • Was appropriately called for in a written letter sent out on December 21st.  The resulting meeting will allow us to certify our own choices for State Committeemen instead of having the MCRC Chairman choose for us.
I have been asked why several PCs were not included in the list of nominees for State Committeemen that went out with the call letter for the January 2nd meeting.  As noted in the call letter, this list was compiled based on the best information we had available to us about who submitted the Nomination Questionnaires by September 30th.  Unfortunately our record is not complete because Chairman Haney has all of the documents and has refused to give us a copy of anything, contrary to County Bylaws.  What we have was what we were able to get from documents that former chairman Haydee Dawson was able to share with the district as well as forms we collected and submitted ourselves.  As stated in the call letter - if you filled out the form and turned it in to the board before September 30th, please forward us a copy of your questionnaire as well as documentation that it was submitted by the September 30th deadline to  Once we verify your information we will add you to the ballot

When I ran for Chairman, I ran on a platform of healing our rifts and bringing us together as a district.  Unfortunately the circumstances of this election have created an even bigger divide, with each side suspicious of the other.  The course of action I have pursued in this matter has been called divisive by some, but I have to ask:  Should I be "everyone's" chairman by ignoring the Bylaws?  We are in this mess because of the violation of our Bylaws.  The fairest way out is to strictly adhere to them now and going forward.

Any sober assessment of the position I am in reveals the fact that I will be suspected and perhaps even hated by a large group of people, regardless of my decisions or the final outcome.  Based on that reality, the only peace I will find is in administering the District according to the Bylaws and allowing the chips to fall where they may.

I believe in the rule of law.  Do you?


Brian Nissen said...

Thanks, Paul for being willing "to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune." I, too, believe in the rule of law and by that I mean "I believe in the rule of law", as opposed to "I say I believe in the rule of law to use it as a cudgel against those I despise, but in the cover of darkness I will resort to any means necessary to get my way." The great irony in all of this is that too many of those who cry "Rule of Law" are dabbling in anarchy.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for having the courage to act on your convictions. I have a lot of confidence in the future of LD25 under your leadership.

Anonymous said...

§ The vast majority of the LD 25 PCs were on the State Committeeman ballot. At least 40 (and probably more) of these looked like they were arbitrarily put on the ballot without the submission of any form whatsoever. We could not come to any certain conclusion as to why this happened. Our speculation was that these names were added by those managing the election out of a sincere desire that nobody be left off who wanted to run, even though such action was a clear violation of the Bylaws. The Bylaws state that to qualify to be on the ballot, a PC must submit a signed nomination questionnaire by a certain date. Many of those who appeared on the ballot did not submit the required signed nomination questionnaires