Let me attempt to confuse things even more. There is a battle going on within the Republican Party. It extends from national to state to local partisanship. I speak to the intra-party squabble in Utah.
It appears there is a contest of wills being exerted between the Utah Republican Party Chairman, Rob Anderson, and a sizable portion of the State Central Committee. To simplify the subject there is an underlying issue referred to as Count My Vote.
On one side, long time party activists seek to maintain what is known as Caucus/Convention system for nominating candidates to run under the official banner of the Republican Party. Contrary to that system is the initiative known as “Count My Vote”(CMV). Under CMV any candidate could declare themselves a member and representative of a political party. They would then have an opportunity to sidestep the obligations of Caucus/Convention system and by acquiring sufficient petition signatures to have their name placed on the ballot…as an officially sanctioned representative of the party.
Under threat of an initiative process the CMV advocates persuaded the State Legislature to adopt a state law creating a blend of the two concepts. The Utah Republican Party, in conjunction with other third parties in the state, sought to de-legitimatize the new law as inconsistent with the state constitution, via a lawsuit.
That is about as succinct as I can make the scenario.
The Utah Republican Party elected a chairman who campaigned for the position as a protector of the traditional Caucus/Convention system. Since that time his actions have been called into question by several member of the State Central Committee of the Republican Party. The reason for being called into question is the apparent shift in the chairman’s position on the entire question of opposition to the CMV effort. They claim he has become an advocate of a system which will destroy the Republican Party of Utah.
The latest round of debates (overlooking recent intra-party knock-down drag-out fights) centers around the rights of the chairman to nullify the calling of State Central Committee meeting.
Here are the facts:
- Despite claims by any party official the state central committee, under its (Republican Party) own Constitution and Bylaws, is chaired by the Party Chairman.
- In the absence of the Chair the Party Vice chairperson then conducts the meeting. That is Very Clear, and to an extent substantiates the Chairman’s Claim of certain rights of operations.
- The Constitution and Bylaws of the Party DO NOT address directly the process to be followed if the Chair and the Vice Chair are absent.
- However, the Republican Party Constitution, Article XIII state “The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern all meetings of the Party…”
- The question then becomes what is the meaning of the word (No, I am not pulling a Bill Clinton here) “current?” Does it mean current , as in the time of adoption, or “present” as in right now? Although that question could bear relevance fortunately for this matter it does not.
- According to multiple dictionaries the confusion between current and present is made clear. Current means at the time of, whereas present means right now. Perhaps the adoption of the Repubican Party Constitution did not take the nuance of those words into account. I am.
- The current, date of the latest version of the Republican Party Constitution was May 20, 2017. That suggests that the present version of the Constitution prevails, since 5/20/2017.
- What makes that particularly relevant is that the current and present edition of Robert’s Rules of Order state the same thing.
- In the absence of a chair and a vice chair the Secretary shall conduct the opening of the meeting.
- The legitimate participants then select a Chair Pro Tem to conduct all subsequent matters of the meeting. Upon the presence of the permanent chairman or vice chairman the Pro Tem position is immediately vacated.
Nothing in the existing Republican Party Constitution or Bylaws, which are also subject to state statute, suggest that the absence of the chair or vice chair of any group, having adopted the current/present Robert’s Rules of Order imply that an officially called meeting of the State Central Committee would be illegal or inappropriate.
With respect to the Chairman’s right to cancel a State Central Committee nothing in the Party Constitution, Bylaws, statute, or Robert’s Rules of Order defend that presumption. He may disagree with the meeting and reject, personally, all aspects of it’s proceeding. Yet, his only legitimate course of action is to argue against it such proceeding. He cannot even legitimately refuse to take action dirceted by the State Central Committee, without resignation.
Absent his resignation as chairman by a 60% vote of the State Central Committee, under the Constitution and Bylaws as presently written, that body may remove him from his role.
That Is The Way I See It.