It’s Time For MCDP Reorganization — Karl Keith And All Of The MCDP Political Bosses Should Step Aside

Karl Keith is well liked, and an excellent County Auditor. He is very influential in the local party. Karl, however, is part of the MCDP problem. He is part of anti-democracy political boss system that must change.

Every four years, the Montgomery County Democratic Party is required by state law to “reorganize.” This May 2, at the Democratic Primary, a new MCDP Central Committee will be elected and the 2022 MCDP Reorganization Meeting will be scheduled.

At a national and state level, the Democratic Party is a mess —  no leadership, no vision. Reorganization is the big opportunity for Montgomery County Democrats to reform the party at the county level with new leadership and a new plan to create a “For-democracy” 21st Century political organization. Reorganization is the opportunity for MCDP to step away from its “political boss” structure that is pervasive in the party and to become a model for the state and nation.

If you are a Democrat, this is your opportunity to be a leader — to be on the Democratic ballot and seek election to the MCDP Central Committee —  to represent the Democrats in your precinct. And, if elected, you can be a voting participant in the important 2022 Reorganization Meeting.  (See how below.)

One big issue to be resolved at Reorganization is the on-going anti-democratic endorsement practice of the MCDP. The huge mistakes the MCDP made last year — crazy and hurtful endorsements — is a result of a rigged political boss system. The second big issue is the fact that many Democrats simply refuse to vote. Why? I believe, the anti-democratic practices of the MCDP can be blamed. Some Democrats have lost faith in the party. The MCDP must do better. Now, it is more important than ever that the MCDP move into the 21st Century and become an organization that empowers the rank-and-file and that energizes Democrats with new confidence in their party. 

I became a Central Committee member in 2006. In fifteen years there has been little change in the MCDP organization. It’s a political boss system and the same group has stayed in control for years. These are all nice people. Who wouldn’t like the county auditor, Karl Keith? I hate to bring it up, but Karl is part of the problem in that he has consistently supported the anti-democratic actions of the MCDP. Karl has supported the endorsement procedures and all of the dumb endorsements over the last many years. 

I count six of Karl’s employees in the County Auditor’s office who are members of the MCDP Central Committee, so Karl unfairly has seven votes. The 19th century practice of anti-democratically empowering political bosses needs to stop. The Clerk of Courts, Mark Owens, (now retired) has eight employees — eight votes — on the Central Committee and County Prosecutor, Mat Heck, has twenty votes. This is public information. I compiled a list of county employees who are voting members of the Central Committee and I doubt that I found them all. Members of the Central Committee are suppose to represent the Democrats in their precinct. It is a corrupt system when members first loyalty is to an elected official.

I decided to research Karl and the other elected officials in the MCDP leadership after the March 2019 Central Committee meeting. (You can see the David Esrati’s you-tube here.)  At that meeting, I was intent on making a motion to form independent committees to study some crucial issues. A young woman interrupted. I was baffled why this person would be so aggressive and would show such contempt. Only later did I discover that this 24 year old has a good job in the Auditor’s office as an Administrative Assistant for Karl Keith. 

Prior to being interrupted, I was saying:

“We need to do the hard work of researching and dialoging about questions of real importance…. The Central Committee needs to discuss and deliberate important questions. We need to come to grips with what a twenty-first century Democratic Party should look like…. We need to let people know that we are champions of democracy.

There’s only 60 people here this evening. What does that poor attendance say? It says most members saw no value in coming to this meeting. We didn’t have an agenda for this meeting. We are not operating in a professional way. …

Why is there no committee studying the 2018 election in Montgomery County? There has been no report. Why won’t Democrats come out and vote? We have precincts that voted 90% – 95% for Cordray. It’s amazing. But these strong precinct only had a turn-out of 40%. Why aren’t we talking about this? What is our plan?”

Ironic — Speech At Central Committee Meeting Calling For The MCDP To Be “A Champion Of Democracy” Interrupted By ‘Non-Debatable’ Motion To Immediately Adjourn

“I thought I had the floor, and the right to speak, but, as it turned out, I didn’t have the floor after all. There was a member waving her hand wanting to interrupt me and the chair allowed it. (17:55) As it turns out, the person harassing me was Kyle Tromley — an Administrative Assistant for Karl Keith, our County Auditor. Kyle wanted everyone to know that she’s worked her tail off for the party and that she was tired of hearing me complain and ramble.


I told Kyle that I’d like to get to know her and that it was important that everyone in the party find a way to work together. After some back and forth, I said, “I’d like to make a motion.” At this point Karl Keith, stood and moved that we immediately adjourn. (18:58) (Not until later did I didn’t realize that Kyle and Karl were a tag team.) When I asked Karl why he thought an abrupt end to the meeting was appropriate, Karl said that adjournment is a privileged motion and that there could be no debate. I guess we follow Roberts Rules only when it is suits our purposes to do so.


The video shows that when the vote was taken, standing with Karl to seek an immediate adjournment was not only 24 year old Kyle Tromley, his Administrative Assistant, but also 25 year old Mike Brill, Karl’s Executive Assistant at the Auditor’s Office. (The rest of the Auditor’s contingent was not present at this meeting or I’m sure they would have stood with Karl as well.)”

The purpose of this retelling of this 2019 meeting is not to trash Karl. Like I said, Karl is a nice guy and I believe he is an excellent County Auditor — but he, and others of the MCDP bosses, actively are anti-democratic, empowered by the anti-democratic 19th Century political boss structure inscribed in the MCDP Constitution.

The anti-democracy practices of the MCDP are a turn-off to Democratic voters. We need a complete turn-around and we need to establish a MCDP Constitution that is “For-democracy.” The time demands such a turn-around.  Reorganization comes at a time when democracy is a hot topic and a big concern. In fact, democracy should be our biggest concern. On the anniversary of the January 6 attack on the Capitol, President Biden warned: “Make no mistake about it, we’re living at an inflection point in history, both at home and abroad.”Our challenge as a grassroots organization is to advance a “For-democracy” plan that empowers the rank-and file.

The MCDP should change the MCDP Constitution concerning endorsements. In 2018, each of my five motions concerning endorsement were voted down. (See the list below.) But fixing the endorsement mess is only part of the challenge. Our goal must be to create an MCDP worthy of the challenge of our time, worthy of the support of Montgomery County Democrats, worthy to be emulated by other county organizations.

How to Become A Candidate For the MCDP Central Committee

February 2 is the deadline to get on the ballot to be elected to the MCDP Central Committee. Here is what is required:

  1. Download form 2L from the Secretary of State’s website. Here is the link.
  2. Check with the BOE to verify the precinct you live in. (Some have changed.) Here is the link.
  3. To complete this form, you will need the signature of at least five Democrats living in your precinct. To get a list of the Democrats in your precinct, go to Campaign Tools at our BOE.Here is the link.

In 2018, the MCDP Central Committee voted to waive the requirement for five signatures and the only requirement was the candidate’s own signature. Even with this simplified requirement only 120 of the county’s 360 precincts had any candidates, so I am concerned that with the five signature requirement even few precincts will be engaged in this election.

The BOE will post every Friday an update on petitions that have been submitted.

February 22 is the next important date. This is the deadline for any write-in candidate to submit a petition. The requirement is simply the signature of the candidate. The candidate’s name will not appear on the ballot,only one write-in vote can win the election.



—  Articles —

  • Turner-Sloss, Fairchild pull off rare feat in Dayton commission race November 6, 2021 Democrats Darryl Fairchild and Shenise Turner-Sloss made some history this week by defeating two Dayton City Commission candidates who were endorsed by the Montgomery County Democratic Party. Credit to the voters who saw through the shenanigans and who were willing to vote for substance over distraction,” Fairchild said, a reference to controversial mailers that were sent out by their opponents attacking him and Turner-Sloss. Those mailers angered many Democrats, with some people saying they were racist….”
  • Montgomery County Democrats apologize for attack ads October 29, 2021 UPDATE: Montgomery County Democratic Party Executive Director Kurt Hatcher resigned Friday in the wake of the controversy over the mailers. The Montgomery County Democratic Party issued an apology to two Dayton city commission candidates for attack advertisements sent by mail to city voters. The party’s central committee on Thursday voted to apologize to Dayton City Commissioner Rev. Darryl Fairchild and candidate Shenise Turner-Sloss, said Mark Owens, party chairman.
  • Montgomery County Democratic Party Dominated By Appointed Gov. Workers And Elected Gov. Officials September 16, 2011 A DDN article today, “Public Workers’ Political Activity Limited,” tells that one-fourth of the 186 members of the Central Committee of the Montgomery County Democratic Party (MCDP) are employed as Montgomery County government workers, and one-tenth of the 278 members of the Central Committee of the Montgomery County Republican Party (MCRP) are county government workers.
  • Proposed Change To MCDP Constitution —All Endorsements Shall Be By Roll Call Vote Of The Central Committee May 22, 2018  With its endorsement of Democrat Rev Ward over Democrat Rev Fairchild, the Montgomery County Democratic Party further eroded confidence in the party. The Selection Committee’s decision to endorse was not based on the competence and character of the two candidates. It was all about party politics. Evidently, Rev. Ward had more friends than Rev. Fairchild on the Selection Committee. There is no record of how this decision was made. The constitution calls for all endorsements to command a 2/3 support in the Central Committee. The problem is, there is no transparency. There is no way that I can discover who on the Central Committee voted for the endorsement and who voted against and who failed to vote.
  • Should The Attendance Records Of Central Committee Members Be Kept Secret? In The Montgomery County Democratic Party There Is Disagreement About Transparency March 29, 2019  Interesting exchange last evening with Kurt Hatcher, Executive Director of the MCDP, following the March meeting of the MCDP Central Committee. I told Kurt that I’d like to be sent a list of members in attendance. Kurt replied that he would not honor my request because the Central Committee had voted in the January meeting to omit any record of attendance in the minutes of the Central Committee meetings….In that same January meeting, the group voted that the email addresses of Central Committee members should be kept secret — even from fellow Central Committee members. Yes, read that again.
  • The Montgomery County Democratic Party Shows Blatant Favoritism In Democratic Primary Endorsements. December 28, 2019  The Montgomery County Democratic Party at its December 12 meeting voted on early endorsements for the Democratic Primary. This endorsement practice is so anti-democratic and so reeks of a system that is rigged that some Democratic Party county organizations prohibit this practice. Willis Blackshear Jr. got the big prize — the endorsement for Dayton’s 39th Ohio House District. There were four other qualified Democrats who had taken out petitions (see the last article below). A majority of the 29 members of the Screening Committee party chose the 27 year old son of their friend — Willis Blackshear Sr., the County Recorder who died less than two years ago. The MCDP seems to have no fear of showing in its endorsement actions what appears as blatant favoritism.
  • Montgomery County Democrats Defeat Endorsement Motion Oct 26, 2007  Both the Executive Committee and the Central Committee of the Montgomery County Democratic Party, at our October meeting last night, defeated my motion concerning endorsement procedures. 
  • At MCDP Reorganization Meeting I Will Propose A Change In By-Laws To Prohibit Primary Endorsements June 2, 2010…  I’ve been surprised to learn that the MCDP operates as a very anti-democratic boss driven system. It took me a while to catch on.  In October, 2007, I made a motion that the Central Committee should make no endorsement of Primary candidates prior to the deadline for submitting petitions.  I thought this motion might get support. I was enlightened about what MCDP is all about during the short debate that occurred in response to my motion.  One insistent person demanded that the discussion be stopped and the question called.  I thought there was a lot more to discuss about the whole matter of MCDP endorsement policies and didn’t appreciate the steam roller parliamentary action to suppress discussion.  The chairperson of the MCDP, Mark Owens, is an elected official, the Clerk of Courts.  My Aha moment occurred only later, when I learned that the insistent person demanding discussion be stopped is an employee in Mark Owens’ office.
  • Only 47% Of Montgomery County Dems Will Be Represented At The June MCDP Reorganization Meeting April 8, 2014 Montgomery County Democrats at the May 6 Democratic Primary will elect members of the MCDP Central Committee. 132 of the county’s 360 precincts have at least one candidate (shown in WHITE on map) — 16 of the 132 have more than one candidate — and 228 precincts have no candidate (shown in GRAY on map).
  • How Gerrymandering Defeated An Outstanding Candidate And Sent a Weak Candidate To Columbus March 5, 2008 Vic Harris lost to Roland Winburn for the 40th OHD Democratic nomination yesterday by 44% to 56%. I noticed that some voters walking through the parking lot in the rain to the polling place were clutching their Democratic Party Endorsed Candidate slate in their hands. These lists of officially endorsed candidates were mailed to Democrats, and, on primary election day, Party workers were also passing out these slates to voters at the polls. It’s hard to run against the machine…. I am dismayed that the 40th OHD Democrats chose a weak candidate, Roland, a nice man with lost of friends in the party, and rejected a very outstanding individual, Vic. I keep analyzing how and why this result happened. What gripes me is that many people voting for Winburn were simply wanting to be good Democrats and felt that the way to be a good Democrat was to follow the Party’s endorsement.
  • MCDP Central Committee Rejects Setting Standards For Itself That Are Generally Expected Of Legislative Bodies Aug 30, 2019 The MCDP Central Committee meeting last night rejected making any requests of Chairman Mark Owens to implement changes to its standards of procedures of operation…. The complaint was that the expectations for the Central Committee — procedures and standards — should at least be comparable to what one would expect to find in a well-run student council at a high school: agendas, notifications, minutes, financial reports, etc.
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