Asheville Daily Planet
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Tuesday, 04 June 2019 11:58
By JOHN NORTH
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REYNOLDS — An impassioned dispute over whether the Buncombe County Republican Party must follow the stricter North Carolina GOP Plan or Organization versus the freer Buncombe County GOP Plan of Organization — afer much verbal wrangling — was addressed May 20 by a narrow 18-16 vote of those in attendance on a motion by Ken Hawkins, sending the issue to the NCGOP’s Arbitration Committee, with an agreement among those present that whatever that panel decides on the matter is final.

The action followed two hours of angry or emotional outbursts by those accusing BCGOP Chair Jerry Green and the BCGOP Executive Board of executing a silent, nonviolent coup d’etat by unfairly imposing the NCGOP Plan of Organization on the BCGOP, stripping other party leaders and members of a vote on anything other than proposed expenditures exceeding $250. 

Green and the executive board remained calm and expressed conciliatory sentiments, but as the discussion heated up, apparently to no avail at one point, several attendees walked out en masse in apparent disgust.

The issue was addressed during a meeting that drew about 50 people to the conference room at Reynolds Volunteer Fire Department.

 

Afterward, BCGOP Secretary Loretta Reynolds noted in an email to the Daily Planet that “the BCGOP Executive Board was elected at the 2019 County Convention and when we realized that the BCGOP Plan of Organization did not get approved at the convention, the 10 of us tried to correct the problem.

 

“We knew the NCGOP Plan of Organization does not allow for precinct chairs to have the opportunity to vote,” Reynolds wrote. “We only wanted to correct that so that we all have a voice. We were not trying to make the situation worse. We want everyone to be involved.”

 

However, former BCGOP Parliamentarian Dorothea Scott Alderfer noted in a separate email to the Daily Planet that “the only legal, compliant, forthright course of action to ‘address’ what has occurred in the BCGOP is to call for reinstatement of the BCGOP Plan or Organization, as voted on at Convention in 2018, as amended in January 2019 and as on file at the NCGOP — RRR — Feb. 7, 2019.”

 

Alderfer added in her email, “The present and future BCGOP Leadership may amend the BCGOPPOO in compliance with requirements outlined in the NCGOPPOO (p.9) and BCGOPOO (Article VII).”

 

Regarding Alderfer, Green, the BCGOP chairman, said in a telephone interview May 28 with the Daily Planet that Alderfer recently resigned as parliamentarian, but remains a member of the local party. “Parliamentarians don’t usually discuss the issues,” so, Green said, he presumes Alderfer resigned her post “because she wanted to discuss the issues.”

 

Green said the decision by the BCGOP Executive Board to follow the NCGOP’s Plan of Organization for this year was simply a matter of following the state party rules, which requires such a path if a local party fails to have its own county Plan of Organization approved. 

 

In the BCGOP’s case, Green said he thought it certainly was the result of an oversight — and not an intentional ploy to strip all but Executive Board members of power.

 

He added, “A lot counties just follow the NCGOP plan, but “many of them have only six or eight precincts,” while the BCGOP has 80 precincts.

 

Green said the BCGOP Plan of Organization “is a little freer” than the NCGOP plan. Specifically, it allows precinct chairs and vice chairs, club presidents (such as the BCGOP Men’s Club and BCGOP Women’s Club), team leaders and others to vote on various matters. In contrast, the NCGOP plan is “very strict.”

 

After the oversight was discovered, the BCGOP Executive Board determined in January that the local party would have to follow the NCGOP plan and “filed it with the state in February,” Green said.

 

At the Reynolds meeting, “we were trying to get everyone on the same page. At this point, we didn’t have a parliamnetarian,” as Alderfer, who was present, had resigned — and her replacement has yet to be named, he said.

 

As for the vote to turn the matter over to the NCGOP Arbitration Committee, Green said in the interview, “Let’s do it and work it out. We can still work it (the NCGOP plan) to give people some more lattitude.” 

 

And, at the next convention, early next year, Green said the BCGOP intends to make sure it files within the deadline so it can return to using its own Plan of Organization.

 

Green said he expects the NCGOP Arbitration Committee, which he said is clogged up with other pressing work at the moment, to decide on the BCGOP matter within a month.

 

In concluding his interview with the Daily Planet, Green emphasized, “I do think Republicans understand that it’s been our goal to stay focused on the election in 2020. If we have to get this behind us, let’s do it now.”

 

At the Reynolds meeting, an unidentified woman asked near the beginning, “I don’t understand why we don’t get to vote. Why it’s being told to us without any input or vote.”

 

In response, 11th District GOP Chair Aubrey Woodard said, “Well, that is the decision of the committee that looked at this. If you’d like, we could forward this to the arbitratration commission.”

 

An unidentified woman said, “You had mentioned that this isn’t the first time.”

 

“That’s right,” Woodard said. “At your convention, you accepted the North Carolina plan” because the Buncombe County Plan of Organization was not adopted.

 

When a woman charged that “the entire BCGOP Executive Committee, given a quorum, voted by two-thirds to make some changes” in the BCGOP plan in January, Green replied, “I think what you’re saying is correct ... We’ve been out of compliance for a number of years. My plan is if we can’t do it this way, we have a meeting like this.”

 

Republican Ken Hawkins then asserted, “Mr. Chairman I’d like to make a motion… I’d like to move” that those in attendance vote on which Plan of Organization to follow. “I’m a college graduate — and I’ve read the N.C. Plan or Organization. And there’s nothing in there that says the BCGOP must adopt the (N.C.) Plan of Organiation.”

 

“I think the motion is out order,” Green calmly reiterated. “When you make a motion to override what the state is asking us to do, you’re out of order.”

 

Executive Committee Fremont V. Brown III interjected, “I think what everybody’s forgetting… We adopted a plan. We adopted the NCGOP plan as our plan. If we adopt another plan, we will be out of compliance with what we voted for.”

 

Green lamented that “we’re spending our time fussing over things like this.

 

As others mumbled their disagreement with Green, an unidentified woman said, “We’ve got to do what the bossman says.”

 

At that point, Hawkins said to Green, “Sir, there’s a motion on the floor. It’s been seconded. There’s been discussion. It needs to be voted on. We deserve a vote on this matter, here and now.”

 

As the discussion continued, a man stood up and said, angrily, “You don’t have a voice! You don’t have a vote! You don’t need to give them your money!” as he and at least four others stormed out of the meeting.

 

Green eventually agreed to hold a vote, but Hawkins interjected, “Division of the house!”

 

Green then relented and said, “We’ll do it by standing,” as several of those who had walked out returned to cast a vote. 

 

“As a point of order,” Green said, “if someone leaves the floor,” that individual is not allowed to return and vote later. One of the returnees said they were just “taking a break.”

 

After the 18-16 vote in favor of turning the matter over to the NCGOP Arbitration Committee, the attendees agreed, that, by unanimous consent, the BCGOP should send the problem to the arbitration committee for a decision.


 



 


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