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Will The Montgomery County Democratic Party At Its Reorganization Meeting Choose To Be Transparent?

Nan Whaley, Dayton mayor and a big influence in the MCDP and Mark Owens, MCDP Chairman

I had a good meeting this morning with Mark Owens, Chairman of the Montgomery County Democratic Party, concerning nine motions I am making to change the MCDP Constitution. At the Reorganization Meeting on June 6, only a majority vote is needed to change the constitution.

I emphasized that the newly elected Central Committee must deal with Ward / Fairchild debacle. How did the party make such a bonehead decision that it should choose one qualified Democrat over another — and then proceed to spend party funds to tell Dayton Democrats how to vote?

The big problem is transparency. There is no record of how the decision was made to endorse Rev. Ward. There is no record of how Central Committee members voted. In this Ward / Fairchild matter, the MCDP acted like a secret society of insiders, rather than a representative body looking after the interests of all Democrats. Sarah Greathouse, Executive Secretary, wants to defend the action of the group by saying that the MCDP follows Roberts Rules, and that nobody asked for a roll-call vote. Yes — exactly. Nobody in that group wanted the vote concerning Ward / Fairchild to be on record and to be made public.

Roberts Rules says a motion to vote by roll-call, in order to be approved, requires a majority of those voting. I told Mark that, concerning all proposed changes to the Constitution, I would be making a motion for a roll-call vote and I asked if he would support such a motion. He refused to commit and said he would not make a recommendation to the Central Committee. I think it is important that he and other party leaders, like Nan Whaley, speak out in support of this motion for a roll call vote.

I said that Getting Out The Democratic Vote is a number one concern of the Democratic Party and that as a party we need to do some soul searching as to why so many Democratic voters are refusing to vote. I said we need to consider the possibility that some Democrats are not voting because they are mad at the party, they’ve lost faith and trust in the party.

A commitment to transparency as a party is one way to build trust. The elected members of the Central Committee, I believe, should make a change to the MCDP Constitution to make sure that in the matter of endorsement, that the party meet a high standard of transparency. I now have a list of nine proposed changes to the constitution — modified somewhat from the list of ten I shared in a previous post. For the first four there seems general agreement. The ninth proposed change is the key — a commitment to transparency.

At the Reorganization Meeting, my motion will be for a roll-call vote concerning changes to the constitution. I’ll be disappointed and somewhat amazed if a majority of the members of the Central Committee in attendance defeat the motion. I’m hoping that by wide consensus, the Montgomery County Democratic Party At Its Reorganization Meeting Will Choose To Be Transparent.

Proposed Changes to the MCDP Constitution

  1. PREAMBLE: “WE THE REPRESENTATIVES of the Democrats living in Montgomery County — in order to form a strong party organization that empowers representative democracy within our party and throughout the county — do establish this Montgomery County Democratic Party Constitution.
  2. A New Name: “The Montgomery County Democratic Party.”
  3. A New PURPOSE: “In accordance with the provisions of Section 3517 of the Ohio Revised Code, this organization shall be the “Controlling Committee” of the Democratic Party of Montgomery County. The purpose of the Montgomery County Democratic Party is to represent and to serve Montgomery County Democrats. The MCDP advances this purpose: by connecting Montgomery County Democrats within an extended MCDP community where every member has a voice, by advancing candidates of the people who are dedicated to public service and whose principles align with those of the Democratic Party.
  4. An expansion of MEMBERSHIP: “The MCDP welcomes all Democrats registered in Montgomery County to become a member of the MCDP organization.”
  5. Endorsement recommendations by the Screening Committee shall be announced at least three days prior to the Central Committee meeting at which the recommendations will be acted on.
  6. Central Committee members may register their vote with the MCDP Secretary at any time during the three days prior to the Central Committee meeting.
  7. During the Central Committee meeting, any endorsement recommendations made from the floor, and seconded, will be communicated to Central Committee members not attending the meeting. Voting on these recommendations will occur via communication with the MCDP Secretary and voting will be concluded after 48 hours.
  8. The endorsement of Democratic Primary candidates shall occur after the Board of Election deadline for Democratic candidates to file for the primary.
  9. Central Committee votes on all motions for endorsements shall be by roll-call or by paper ballot with the member’s signature, or by registering the vote with the MCDP Secretary. For each endorsement, a record showing each Central Committee member’s vote shall be posted online.
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