By Leslee Kulba- News of a potential rift in the Buncombe County Republican Party broke with word of Parliamentarian Dorothea Alderfer’s resignation. Alderfer said the last thing the party needs is dissension; if every single registered Republican in Buncombe had voted for Mark Meadows, he still wouldn’t have had enough votes to carry the county.
Alderfer said Buncombe County Election Services had confirmed that 70%-80% of Unaffiliated voters have leaned Democrat for years. But, a lifelong party loyalist, she said she couldn’t continue to be Parliamentarian if the party wasn’t going to follow the rules.
A person familiar with the matter (hereinafter PFM) recalled, “We sat in stunned silence. We had no idea they were going to do that.” The cause of shock was the adoption of a new BCGOP Structure (bylaws), which is posted on buncombegop.com/bcgop-structure/. The PFM explained 10 people stood up at the April executive committee meeting, declared themselves the only true members, and one-by-one voted for the structure.
Since 2005, the BCGOP has been operating under a structure advocated by George Keller and Chuck Durand that was so inclusive, it would make a Democrat blush. It empowered not only BCGOP executive officers, but all BCGOP precinct chairs, presidents of all recognized BCGOP clubs, all BCGOP team directors, elected Republican representatives residing in Buncombe, and holders of other specific BCGOP offices; to participate in adopting budgets, approving committee appointments, and otherwise actively manageBCGOP affairs.
Now, nine team directors, the communications director, the membership director, and members of the Training for Action Committee have been cut off. More controversially, a County Executive Board has been established. The Executive Board is to meet with the chair prior to executive committee meetings and set the agenda for the same. Doing so puts members of the committee who are not on the board in the position of rubber-stamping the agenda, as they have no time to research or prepare statements defending other positions.
As Alderfer and others understand the rules, each year the county’s executive committee is required to adopt the state structure, which, by addendum, includes the county structures on file with or without amendments. The copy on-file, which had been amended, for purposes of housekeeping and “strengthening the party,” was approved at the executive committee meeting January 28. The state acknowledged receipt February 7.
A different structure was adopted at an executive committee meeting April 22, as described above. PFMs said they had not seen the new structure a priori, did not know of anybody who had, and did not even know if all 10 persons who voted for it had had a chance to read it. It was unclear how the 10 became the only true members and how the new structure supplanted the old. But following the adoption of the structure, eligible members were again able to vote. Then, shortly after the meeting, the controversial structure appeared on the party web site.
A side-by-side comparison of the old and new structures shows a reorganization of text, with sometimes one, and sometimes the other being better written or organized. The new document, of course, has added in numerous instances, “with the advice and consent of the County Executive Board and the County Executive Committee.” Those left on the executive committee will increase in power due to the smaller size of the committee and the reduction of members defining a quorum from one-third to one-quarter.
Other concerns over redistribution of power expressed by PFMs included the statement, “The Chairman MUST [emphasis in original] work with the Elected Executive Board as it is his advisory committee and must meet before each Executive Committee Meeting ….” Additionally, while the old document did not discuss authorized spending levels, the new document gives the Executive Board latitude to spend up to $250 at any time without executive committee oversight.
The documents vary in the extent of elaboration on roles and responsibilities of different executive committee member positions, but this need not imply contradiction. Notable changes include the elimination of the membership director and the addition of a webmaster and Facebook administrator. In some places, the new document reads as if there are two vice chairs; in others, one. Only one vice chair has been seated. Formerly, the first vice chair sat on all committees, and the second vice chair coordinated events.
When PFM’s were asked if they saw a clear motive to empower a particular individual or ideology or exclude the same; they indicated it looked more like a generic power grab. A Googling of select phrases, did not turn up anything to indicate this was boilerplate and part of a statewide or national coup.
Disaffected contingents may appeal the matter to the state party, but with the bribery scandal making national news and the 2020 convention coming to Charlotte, they expect this would