Much has been written and discussed these past several days regarding this weeks LCRC meeting. With that discussion, comes a fair amount of misinformation, spin and curiosity from those who were not there, as well as those who were there, yet lacking the required background information to put the events of that meeting in the proper context. My friend, colleague and current LCRC Chair Glen Caroline, having chaired this meeting, has authored the following fair and accurate summation of this event.
There has been much back and forth on numerous blogs concerning what I believe to be some unfortunate events that occurred at our Jan. 26 Loudoun County Republican Committee (LCRC) meeting. As LCRC Chair, allow me to offer some thoughts.
First, keep in mind, the story line out of the Loudoun County Republican Committee is a strong one. We thumped our opponents in last year’s elections, and swept every statewide race and House of Delegate race in, or encompassing parts of, Loudoun County. Our Jan. 26 meeting started off where it should have—focusing on our successes and recognizing some truly outstanding volunteers for their efforts. I thank all who were involved in our efforts last year and feel we are strongly positioned for future victory.
Unfortunately, some in attendance—some LCRC members, some non-members who held proxies, and even one who is seeking to succeed me as Chair—decided that, rather than helping to make a difference, they were going to try and make a point. Though, for the life of me and scores of others in attendance, I do not know what that point was.
I commend Mark Sell and the others who took hours of their time a year ago to review proposed revisions to our LCRC Bylaws. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our Committee’s control (weather, lack of super-quorum), our best attempts to vote on these revisions in 2009 did not materialize. I was very pleased walking into to our Jan. 26 meeting that we had sufficient attendance to finally vote on these revisions, and finish the hard work that Mark and the others on the sub-committee started.
When the time came to vote on these revisions, Mark Sell, offered an obscure motion to, rather than vote on the bylaws revisions he himself supported and help draft as a whole, vote on them section-by-section. Why a supporter of the changes who was integral in drafting them would call for such a motion, only Mark Sell knows. Clearly his motion was going to cause what could and should have been a three minute procedure, to devolve into a 90 minute procedure, replete with parliamentary torture, unnecessary roll call votes, and at times, less than courteous behavior.
I offered Mark the chance to withdraw his motion because I thought it appropriate to afford him that opportunity. He declined. Others offered Mark the opportunity to explain what his concerns were that led him to offer his motion how to proceed. He declined. Similarly, at a later time, I as Chair ruled a motion out of order, and was subjected to boos and catcalls. Those of you who know me know that I could not have cared less about such reactions, as my skin is very thick. However, for the sake of fairness, hearing that a few attendees disagreed with my ruling, I invited a motion to over-rule the Chair. The motion made and was voted down—as was virtually every other motion made by these same individuals, thus sustaining my original ruling by a majority of the body.
As we went through the bylaws, section-by-section, under the steady hand of our Parliamentarian John Millhiser (who, earlier and prior to Mark’s motion being made, had informed the Committee of the proposed revisions to the bylaws and their effect), the maker of the motion, Mark Sell, never once participated in the debate; the very debate he asked for. Numerous motions were made for division, requiring a count of the “yeas” and “nays” and on every occasion less one, I accommodated the request. While every one of the revisions to the bylaws passed by majority vote, two failed because they failed to achieve the required super-majority. Perhaps these two failed because some in attendance decided to leave once they began witnessing the time-consuming and arduous process that was afoot. Could that have been part of the strategy?
Dimitri Kesari, who is not an LCRC member, but held a valid proxy, was the primary architect calling for the numerous division votes. I have seen Dimitri at very few LCRC meetings, as again, he is not a current member. Nonetheless, he apparently chose to attend this meeting, to call for vote by division on nearly every vote pertaining to revisions of the bylaws that govern a Committee that he is not a member of.
As I noted earlier, not only was Mark Sell part of the sub-committee that reviewed and approved the revisions to our bylaws, but exactly two weeks earlier at our LCRC Executive Committee meeting at the Rust Library in Leesburg, I mentioned to the ExCom and to Mark that we would be voting to review the bylaws and asked him directly, as a member of the subcommittee responsible for the revisions, if he himself had or knew of any potential concerns with the proposed revisions to the bylaws. He answered he had not. Similarly, at multiple times during the previous year when I was hopeful the LCRC would have the opportunity to vote on the revisions to the bylaws, I asked Mark in person at our mutual place of employment that, if he had concerns, knew of concerns, or wanted to discuss these or similar matters, to simply let me know, so we could chat and address them in advance. He did not take me up on my offer.
As the LCRC Chair, above is the factual recount of what occurred at the Jan. 26 LCRC meeting with a bit of historical background. All I ask of those who were in attendance, or are inquiring as to what happened, is that you look at the facts, and draw your own conclusions as our Committee moves forward.
The only reason I recount this is because I and others are receiving numerous queries, every day from many, many attendees, who are concerned and very frustrated over the manner in which Mark Sell, Suzanne Volpe, and Dimitri Kesari chose to proceed, and who don’t fully understand what happened. The only reason I am specifically referencing certain names herein is because people are asking me who these individuals were.
As I have always tried to do in my near two years as LCRC Chair, my preference would have been not to have been forced to engage in this type of fruitless exercise and instead focus on areas of commonality and mutual goals. I did not seek, nor did I relish the manner in which this debate was conducted, and feel it was handled fairly and openly. For me and the LCRC, these issues are resolved and the matter is now closed, allowing us to continue our work moving forward to expand and grow our Republican base of support so we can continue to elect Republicans to office in Loudoun County.
I remain humbled and honored to be the LCRC Chair.