Thursday, September 1, 2011

Gardner: GOP leaders' meeting is not legit

Posted By on Thu, Sep 1, 2011 at 2:54 PM

The local Republican party leadership can't even call a meeting without collapsing into criticisms and blisteringly icy e-mails from its party heads.

Rep. Bob Gardner
  • Rep. Bob Gardner

As we have been chronicling, local party secretary Sarah Anderson sent out the call for a meeting of the executive committee for Sept. 12. According to Anderson, this date was penciled in at the May 2 meeting of the executive committee, and per bylaws, it was her responsibility to send out the call two weeks in advance.

Eli Bremer, the county GOP chair, argues that only he can issue a call for meeting, and since he didn't instruct the secretary to put out the call, there is no meeting to be had. Further, he argues, since there was a subsequent meeting between May and now — the raucous July 7 meeting — and that at no time was a meeting scheduled at that meeting, the previously set date is voided.

Anderson counters that the July 7 meeting was an emergency meeting, and therefore does not supersede the scheduling decisions made at the standard May meeting.

Now, the party's vice-chair, David Williams, has put out his own missive that states that the Sept. 12 meeting was legally called, based on Anderson's assertion that it was always scheduled at the May meeting, and that it will be held with or without the chairman — who, by the way, is going to be in Moscow competing for Olympic qualification on the 8th.

Bremer has directed any questions to the party attorney, state Rep. Bob Gardner. This is also intriguing. Gardner has made it no secret which side of this fight between Anderson/Williams and Bremer that he falls on.

A former county party chair, Gardner has been acting as the party's attorney for a few weeks since the previous attorney, John Buckley, stepped aside due to time constraints. "I wouldn't normally have done it," Gardner says, "because of the demands on my own time, but the issues that we have are so critical. And the challenges, such as this one, are so great, that I felt that it needed to be done."

In discussing Williams' e-mail confirming the meeting's legitimacy, Gardner starts off by taking a shot at Williams' misspelling of "rescind."

"The first thing he ought to do is learn to spell."

As for Williams' analysis of the bylaws, Gardner says, "A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing."

“He is not correct in his analysis, or maybe he doesn’t understand what happened at that May 2nd meeting. As I understand, what happened was the executive committee was simply asked if that September 12th date would work for everybody. There was not a formal vote taken. That was an inquiry by the chair about the scheduling for the meeting."

He adds that since there was an executive committee meeting in July, it was decided that there was no need to hold one before the state central committee meeting.

“It is my understanding that there was some discussion during the executive session, just an informal discussion that maybe the next executive committee meeting needed to happen after the state central committee meeting,” Gardner says.

The state party is slated to hold its central committee meeting Saturday, Sept. 24, starting at 8 a.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 2886 South Circle Drive in the Springs.

“As to the chairman’s ability to rescind — r-e-s-c-i-n-d — the call, if it was a call that was issued at his discretion, I think that he has the power," Gardner says. "If it was issued by mistake, he certainly has the power to rescind the call. ... Giving Sarah Anderson the benefit of the doubt that she simply issued the call because she thought that she was supposed to, because it was issued in error, the chairman clearly has the authority to cancel that call."

Gardner adds that if a meeting does occur on the 12th, "it will just be a meeting of some people. It certainly wouldn’t be an executive committee meeting,” he says. “If somebody wants to go to the courthouse, and enforce the action of that meeting, they can, but in my experience judges dislike these kinds of disputes altogether.”

With that in mind, here is Williams' email:

Members of the Executive and Central Committee,

There has been some confusion as to whether or not an Executive Committee meeting will be held on September 12, 2011.

During the Executive Committee meeting held on May 2, 2011, voting members agreed to schedule the next regular meeting for September 12 (ECGOP Bylaws, Article VII, Section 7:01, Letter C:1, and Article IV, Section 4:02, Letter B). This is indicated in the record of that meeting’s proceedings. At no time during the emergency meeting, which was held on July 7, 2011, was there any discussion concerning the cancelation or postponement of the regular meeting scheduled for September.

Sarah Anderson, acting in her official capacity as Secretary, recorded the agreed upon date and time into her calendar that is used to help organize party business. Ms. Anderson, in accordance with the bylaws and acting under the direction of party Chairman Eli Bremer (ECGOP Bylaws, Article VI, Section 6:02, Letter C:2), was directed to send out the official call whenever an Executive Committee meeting was scheduled. Ms. Anderson carried out this directive three previous times, with Mr. Bremer’s full knowledge. To this day, there has been no official memorandum from Mr. Bremer stating that Ms. Anderson’s services in this manner would no longer be required. Further, there was no communication given by Mr. Bremer that the agreed upon meeting would be canceled or postponed.

Considering that an official call has been sent out, and that the bylaws do not speak to the Chairman’s ability to resend an official call, it is my opinion that the Chairman does not have the authority to unilaterally cancel this regularly scheduled meeting. Additionally, the Executive Committee has the right to decide when to hold a meeting without the approval of the Chairman (ECGOP Bylaws, Article VII, Section 7:01, Letter C:1, and Article IV, Section 4:02, Letter B). Therefore, this action is beyond the scope of the Chairman, and it would create a potential for future Chairmen to seize authority not granted under our bylaws. Any change of the bylaws should be conducted under the proper procedure outlined in our governing documents, and not done via executive decision.

The regularly scheduled meeting for September 12, 2011, will be held as previous indicated in the official call that was properly sent out. If the Chairman is unable to attend this meeting, then I am prepared and empowered to call to order the meeting and chair it myself (ECGOP Bylaws, Article VI, Section 6:02, Letter B:1).

There are many issues that need to be discussed and addressed. Our party does not have time to participate in such childish games. I can appreciate Mr. Bremer’s busy schedule, but proper communication of his schedule was not given to the Executive Committee or the Secretary, otherwise September 12 would not have even been an option.

If you are a member of the Executive Committee, please remember that any additional items for the agenda must be submitted to the Chairman in writing at least ten days prior to the meeting (no later than September 2, 2011). The final agenda will be sent out for review by or on September 5, 2011.

And, of course, Bremer's reply:

Dear Executive Committee Members,

I wanted to confirm beyond any question that there will not be an Executive Committee meeting on the 12th of September. The previous message was sent out in error and should be disregarded. Given the problems with the official calls going out, I will personally send out the calls so that you know when we actually have a meeting scheduled and are not troubled with erroneous messages. Look for our next Executive Committee either at the end of September or early October following the State Central Committee meeting. Please feel free to call or email me or the El Paso County Republican Party Attorney, Bob Gardner, with any further questions.

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