Political And Other Miscellany From A Stout Democrat In Dallas Texas.
"Politics is the only game for adults." --from Robert A. Heinlein's Double Star

Friday, March 25, 2005

HOPE AT LAST: Ken Molberg reports that Dallas County Democratic Party Chair Susan Hays is sending out a letter saying that she is resigning on midnight April 1. As he points out, she told the media about this even before she told the party. Here's part of the Dallas News story:
Susan Hays announced Thursday that she would resign as chairwoman of the Dallas County Democratic Party on April 1, saying she was the victim of a witch hunt.

In a letter mailed Thursday, Ms. Hays asked precinct chairmen to meet April 2 at the Hall of State in Fair Park to select the next leader.

She appointed precinct chairman Robert Franklin as temporary chairman for the April 2 meeting.

"I am saddened to say that infighting has broken out, giving the public appearance that we prefer to fight among ourselves rather than stand united behind our Democratic beliefs and work together to get Democrats elected," Ms. Hays wrote. ...

Ken Molberg, a former county chairman and longtime member of the State Democratic Executive Committee, said Ms. Hays had a tough job but did some good things.

Mr. Molberg was part of a movement of Democrats who questioned Ms. Hays' performance as chairwoman.

"She was very gracious," he said. "She's made the right decision."

Michael Moon, a precinct chairman and critic of Ms. Hays, said the dispute was not a personal attack of the chairwoman but a way to get ready for the 2006 elections.

"It's important for the party to prepare for 2006," he said. "It's not about her."
What happened at the last meeting, which I've written about before here, was so gross a violation of the rules, parliamentary procedure, and elementary respect for the rights of the Precinct Chairs, that she disqualified herself from continuing to hold the job of County Chair. Long before that her wrong actions and refusal to interact properly with the executive committee had lost the confidence of most of the party activists. Her horrible performance at, and since, that meeting drove the point home to any objective observer who was aware of the facts.

Questions have been raised about whether her call for a meeting to replace her, and her appointment of a person to preside at that meeting, are another violation of the rules, which call for the County Secretary or the State Chair to call the meetings to fill a County Chair vacancy and to appoint the presiding officer there. The meeting should also deal with the unfinished business from the last meeting, which was illegally shut down by her hand-picked "sergeant at arms", for which the head of the union which owned the hall has sent a letter of apology to the Precinct Chairs. There are still Precinct Chair vacancies to be filled, and the next item on the unfinished agenda after that is a motion to deal with her unauthorized support of a Republican judicial nominee.

This resignation will clear the decks so that the party can get its act together in time for the next election campaigns. Because there is so little time before the April meeting, it has been suggested that it should choose a temporary chair, to serve only until a permanent one can be elected at another meeting a month later. We can expect to hear much more in the coming days.


  • At 10:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The 2004-2005 Rules of the Texas Democratic Party provide in Art. III, E.5.(a):

    5. Vacancies.
    (a) When a vacancy occurs in the office of County Chair, the outgoing County Chair or the Secretary of the County Executive Committee may call a meeting to fill the vacancy at any time after it occurs. Upon the written request of any Committee member, however, the Secretary shall
    call one for a date not more than 20 days after receiving the request, giving each member notice
    of the time, place, and purpose. Should a Committee Secretary fail to act after being requested
    in writing to do so, the State Chair shall call the meeting in like manner. The officer calling
    the meeting shall designate a Temporary Chair to preside until the new Permanent Chair
    is elected.
    (Texas Election Code §171.025)

  • At 10:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Where there is a conflict, State Law takes precedent over the party rules...

    Article IV, Chapter A, Subsection 2 of the Texas Democratic Party Rules:

    “Notwithstanding anything in these Rules to the contrary, the laws of the State of Texas take precedence over these Rules in the event of a conflict, so long as application of those laws does not infringe on the Party’s rights of self-government under the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Texas.”

    (a) If a vacancy occurs in the office of county chair, the secretary of the county executive committee shall call a meeting for the purpose of filling the vacancy. If a committee member files with the secretary a written request for a meeting to fill a vacancy, the secretary shall call the meeting to convene not later than the 20th day after the date the secretary receives the request.

  • At 6:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree that state law can take precedence over the party rules if there is a conflict, and my understanding is there is a legal discussion going on about whether there is in fact a conflict in our situation.

    However, even if there is a conflict, why are people ignoring sections c. & d. of the state law? They say:

    (c) The authority calling the meeting shall notify each committee member in advance of the meeting of its time, place, and
    (d) The authority calling the meeting shall designate a
    committee member as temporary chair, who shall call the meeting to order and preside until the vacancy is filled.

    So, if you follow the state law by itself and ignore the party rule, wouldn't David Wilkins or Charles Soechting have to call a meeting to fill the vacancy, and wouldn't he have to appoint a temporary chair? The law doesn't give the Executive Committee the power to do it, and the law says the meeting is "for the purpose of filling the vacancy", not continue an agenda from a meeting prior to the vacancy occuring. Doesn't it say that? That's how I read it.

  • At 3:05 PM, Anonymous Confused Democrat said…

    I have just printed the relevant section of the Pary's rules and the Texas Election Code. It is very clear the 1)"the secretary (Wilkens) of the county executive committee shall can a meeting FOR THE PURPOSE OF FILLING THE VACANCY." 2) "The authority calling the meeting (Wilkens) shall designate a committee member as temporary chair, wo shall call the meeting to order and preside until the vacancy is filled."

    So, Mr. Wilkins, please announce to us all whom you have qppointed as temporty chair.

    And according to these laws, the meeting which you called, Mr. Wilkins, can only be for the purpose of "filling the vacancy" of the County Chair. I would think that a motion could be made to postpone the actual election to allow for an informed electorate, but that is really the only business that can be conducted by this meeting.

    A seperate meeting can be held if the executive members so wish, which would convene right after the first called meeting, in which the new precinct chairs can be sworn in. This meeting would also have to be chaired by the appointed temporary chair.

    So, let's follow the law and do this right


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