Is There No Integrity Left In The Sussex GOP?

question So another month has gone by, and another monthly GOP meeting in Sussex.   Now, I know that the meeting has been covered elsewhere, but I feel a couple of things were reported incorrectly and others were gotten completely wrong, and still others were missed altogether. So for a different perspective, and hopefully a more accurate one, I though I would give my take on what happened at this month’s Sussex County GOP meeting.

I will jump to the middle first, which was the guest speaker, Delaware State Treasurer Ken Simpler. Mr. simpler took the time to stop by and give an update on his first six months in office. Let me begin by saying I am not arrogant enough to say I understood everything he spoke of, even he admitted to getting pretty far down in the weeds.

He did inform us that instead of hiring a deputy right out of the gate, he instead use that money from his budget and hired an outside, third-party, independent consultant. This consultant was hired to look at how the office of the Treasurer is run, and to make recommendations on how to increase efficiency. In his words, “to at the very least, do more for the same, if not more for less”.

Now I did speak with Mr. Simpler after the meeting and asked about his not hiring a deputy, he informed me that he has now actually hired one, so in case anyone was worried about who he would be taking to football games, it’s okay.

He touched on the coming budgetary problems facing Delaware in the 2017 fiscal year, the fact that depending on who you talk to, the state will be facing a revenue shortfall of $100-$160 million. Thank you Gov. Markell for your stellar leadership.

He explained that to fill such an enormous gap would require both severe cuts, and increased revenue sources. He, as treasurer, intends to take a pro-active role in how the state invest, and spends its money, instead of simply being the guy to sign the checks for the Legislature. He hopes to do this through the many boards and committees that he is a member of by appointment. These boards and committees are the same ones that the Legislature counts on for guidance in preparing the budget.

Mr. Simpler spent about twenty, to thirty minutes explaining how dire Delaware’s situation was about to become, and no disrespect to Mr. Simpler, but it could have been boiled down to, “holy crap”.  I should also add that following what was a detailed explanation of the situation, and his views, and goals for the office, Mr. Simpler took several questions. The first coming from ED Phil Daisey. But really it was not a question , but more of a statement, not really a statement, bot more of an accusation, not really an accusation, but more of, oh hell, it was a bunch of TEA 912 Patriot bumper sticker, “We Own It”, clap trap that added nothing to the discussion and left Mr. Simpler, in my view, with no way to respond, but to say, I understand.

Okay, so now back to the Executive Committee itself.

The meeting began as usual with the invocation, and then the pledge of allegiance to the flag. Now if you want to see something funny, all you need to do is put a group of  Republicans in a room where they feel the driving need to say the pledge, and have no flag. Now, myself, I feel that you can simply say the pledge without actually seeing the flag, after all, blind people do it all the time. But it was quite a quandary for many in this group. Kind of like a cat trying to cover a turd on concrete.  Really not sure what they use in the end, it may have been a photo on a cell phone.

The first official piece of business was the Treasurer’s   report delivered by Vicki Carmean, who must be feeling the pressure of her position, considering she started her report by saying, “well I have some more bad news”.  Meaning that once again, and this time for two months, the report was that the Sussex GOP had taken in next to no money, when compared to their expenditures.

For May they received donations to the Founders Club from Mary Spicer, Rob Arlett, C. Griffith and J. Taylor of $670.00 total, and in June they received one donation of $25.00 from the Duvenecks. Oh, lest I forget, there was also a reported collection of $289.00 collected in May to pay for certain members of the Committee to attend the State Convention, but of course that was spent immediately. Yet they are spending around $1,000.00 a month just to keep the lights on, can’t last more than three to four months at the rate they are going.

The term downward spiral keeps running through my mind. Someone needs to step up and take control, soon.

The Secretary’s report was accepted as always, and then they moved to voting in those people who were nominated the previous meeting. One new nominee for an ED position was Nelly Jordan, Ms. Jordan will be rejoining the Sussex Committee after failing to seek a second term as State Vice Chair.

There was no Chairman’s report, even though it was listed on the agenda, to be delivered by acting-chair, Fred Silva. So another month with no leadership.

It was at this point that Mr. Simpler gave his presentation that I spoke of earlier.

This brought the meeting to new business, this was the segment that John Rieley, oh excuse me, former chairman, John Rieley, stood up to announce his upcoming fund-raiser being held at his home, stated to benefit the Sussex County GOP. Mr. Rieley pointed out that only checks would be accepted, and that checks were to be made out directly to the Sussex Republican Committee. Well thank goodness, someone knows how to run a fund-raiser. I hope for the sake of Sussex Republican it is successful. I think it is a relevant point to make,  there is still favoritism in how this committee is run. While Mr. Rieley was allowed to promote his fund-raiser, no mention was made, nor was an update asked for about the “Republicans For Sussex” fund-raiser that was held this past weekend, a great success by all accounts. The current leadership is not interested in building bridges, either within the committee, not outside of it.

The real topic of the night was the upcoming election of a new Chair-person. This is the special election to fill the spot left vacant after Vince Calabro resigned, following much controversy over another fund-raiser that was said to benefit the Sussex Committee. Still haven’t seen that $1,000.00 cash show up on the Treasurer’s report, and they sure could use it.

Secretary Linda Creasey gave the details of how the election would be handled, and this brings us to why this post is titled as it is.

First allow me to get this out of the way, the deadline for putting one’s name into consideration is 5pm on the 27th of July, now I took these notes as  Ms. Creasey was speaking, so I hope we don’t have the same sort of trouble with dates, times, and deadlines that we have had in the past concerning Sussex Executive Committee elections, but only time will tell.

Currently there are only two names in the hat. One being, long time Sussex Republican, and member of the committee, currently an ED in the 14th RD, Mary Spicer. The other being relative newcomer to Sussex politics and the committee, currently the chair of the 38th RD, Billy Carroll.

So, in explaining how the election would be held and run, Ms. Creasey pointed out that to make things run smoother, the Advisory Board, (this board is made up of the Committee officers, and the RD Chairs), had voted to suspend the thirty-day rule concerning the date of the election. No mention was made of whether or not Mr. Carroll recused himself during this vote since he is a candidate.

Really, changing the deadline for holding the election from thirty-days, to a shortened twenty-nine days is no big deal. What does cause me concern is the fact that the Advisory Board chose to vote to suspend this rule without bringing it to the entire Executive Committee to vote on. This sort of top down power structure, is exactly what caused such a fracture in the Committee following the 2010 elections. There was great tumult over changing the rules so as to give more control to the so-called grass-roots. It would seem that those currently controlling the Committee have no need to hear from the people on such matters.

I spoke to Larry Mayo, ED in the 20th about this, and asked his opinion, since back in 2010, and after, Mr. Mayo was quite outspoken about the need for the Committee to be a bottom up power structure. His response was that it was a minor rule, so it was no big deal they didn’t ask the entire Committee. Really Mr. Mayo, minor like one of those minor Constitutional Amendments you are always talking about? I am pretty sure that Mr. Mayo has a real problem with Pres. Obama issuing executive orders, but when it is his friends on the Committee running fast and loose with the rules, well then I guess it is AOK.

Ms. Creasey actually made the statement, “we are trying to follow the rules as closely as possible”. Really? Because where I come from that is like being a little pregnant. Either you follow the rules, or you change the rules according to the rules, or else you are breaking the rules. In this case, in my opinion, they are breaking the rules. To suspend the rules of the entire Committee, they should have held a vote of the entire Committee.

For some reason the current leadership and those who support them seem to be oh too impatient. They feel that everything must happen at a breakneck pace, it was this attitude exactly that caused the former Chair, Vince Calabro all of his troubles. Instead of following rules and laws, he chose to do as he pleased, and look where that got him, and the Committee.

It would seem obvious that either “ACTING” Chair Fred Silva has never read the rules, or else he thinks no one else has. And since he was one of the persons, who wrote the rules, one would believe that he has read them. Another question concerning rules was raised about the “three strikes you’re out” rule.

This is the rule that states that if a member of the Committee misses three consecutive meetings, then they “CAN” be voted out of the Committee by the County Executive Committee.

Here it is directly from the County rules on their own website,

“ARTICLE VI – SCEC Participation, Suspension or Removal


SECTION 1. SCEC Participation, Suspension or Removal:

A.    Active participation is required of all members of the SCEC. 

B.     Any member of the SCEC can be suspended or removed for any one of the following reasons:

1.      By filing a letter of resignation with the Secretary or with the respective RDC.

2.      Winning public election to a paid county, state or national position. 

3.      Absence without reasonable cause from three (3) consecutive SCEC meetings reported to the Advisory Board by the Secretary and recorded on the SCEC meeting sign-in sheet.

a.      If the member or the member’s proxy is present at the removal or suspension meeting, that member or proxy will be allowed to explain and defend the absences. 

b.      If the member is absent from the removal or suspension meeting, this would be the member’s fourth consecutive absence and removal or suspension shall be automatic.

c.      Reasonable cause will be defined on a per case basis by majority vote of the SCEC.”

Now when asked at the meeting, Fred Silva stated that the County Committee had nothing to do with the so-called “three strikes you’re out rule”. He said that participation was up to the RDCs to take care of. But by their own rules, the Advisory Board is supposed to be monitoring this with reports from the Secretary.

The issue here is that far too many of the ED seats are filled with place holders, people who have no real interest in working for the GOP. They simply put their names in to keep others from holding the seat. They never show up for county meetings and rarely show up for district meetings. Some may help during elections, but most likely in such a narrow fashion for single candidates that their benefit may not justify keeping others out who would work for the greater party, rather than a particular candidate only.

But again, the issue here is integrity. If there are rules they should be followed, if asked about the rules, then the rules should be quoted, if not sure about the rules, the rules should be read. I mean, I was able to pull the rules up on my phone during the conversation about the rules, one wonders why Mr. Silva, who is tech savvy, could not?

We Sussex Republicans will have to wait until after the election of the new Chair to find out whether or not things will change, or if it will be just more of the same. Time is running out, we are coming up on another election, and we need leadership that can raise money, recruit candidates, and organize volunteers. Anything else is a waste of time.



8 Comments on "Is There No Integrity Left In The Sussex GOP?"

  1. Pat Fish says:

    Well I’m going to step up and say….very well written, Frank. I agree with every word you wrote, way more detailed than my account, but that’s a compliment.

    I understand about the rules and such, as you said is how it happened.

    I think it’s a little nit-picky but we shall see.

  2. Bill Christy says:

    Frank, interesting point about the 3 strikes you’re out rule.
    When Matthew Opaliski was a RD he missed 5 consecutive meetings to attend the IOTC classes, nothing happened.
    When I stopped attending the monthly meetings as an ED, (due to a threat of arrest if I showed up) I was automatically removed after the 4th consecutive meeting.

    As you are well aware the “rules” are not applicable to all members of the SCEC.

  3. waterpirate says:

    What was old, becomes new again. While I do not support rules that are implemented not as they are written. I do support the 3 strike rule in the chain. If EDC miss 3 functions it falls to the RD to act or not. If a RD misses 3 it should fall to the AB. If a officer misses 3 it should fall to the ECfor a vote. Call it my take on States rights as opposed to federal rights as it applies to RD’s.

  4. Frank Knotts says:

    WP, I agree with your take on how the rules “should” be. The point as you well know is the on going hypocrisy of those who once accused Ron Sams of playing fast and loose with the rules.

  5. waterpirate says:

    I guess my thought process was more along the lines of the current leaderships saying that the enforcing the rules they had 4 years ago, was ” a interesting idea “. Really?

  6. Bill Christy says:

    WP, excellent synopsis of how it should be. As Frank stated sadly it is not that way. They play fast and loose with the rules, only applying them when it benefits the few, not the overall party membership.

  7. mouse says:

    This is outrageous, no discussion of gay marriage, religious amendments to the constitution, Ebola, sexual repression, tax cuts for the 1% or the attack coming from the federal government to lock people in FEMA camps? What’s the GOP coming to RINOS lol

  8. mouse says:

    And worse, certainly every angry rube making 25K a year demands to know why the estate tax that exempts the first 5.25 million from tax isn’t eliminated lol!!

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