Posted to the LNC list by Chair Geoff Neale:
Last Sunday afternoon, I received a phone call from Ruth Bennett. In that conversation she informed me that she was resigning, and that she would send notification to the LNC within “a few days”. I asked her to get it to us by the end of the week. Perhaps I’m over-stepping something here, because my assumption of “end of the week” meant by Friday, and I’m pretty sure I did NOT say “by Friday”. However, I am also quite sure that “a few days” has passed without a formal non-verbal communication, and I need to be able to move things forward.
Therefore, I am accepting Ruth Bennett’s verbal resignation as a formal resignation, and am declaring that the position of Secretary is as of this point open.
I also am appointing Dr. James Lark as secretary pro tem. For the record, Dr. Lark offered his services to the LNC in assistance of the Secretary at our last meeting, and there was no objection to this offer. I do not recall a formal motion, and this was not an appointment. Additionally, Dr. Lark has communicated to the members of the Executive Committee that he is willing to take on this duty in the short-term, until we choose a replacement, but is not interested in taking on the role formally. He is also hopeful of being relieved of this duty as soon as possible, and would like us to fill the position before the next LNC meeting. Therefore, his appointment is effective immediately, and will last until he resigns from the appointment, or until a new Secretary is chosen.
It should be clear that there is nothing within our Bylaws that specifically grants me the authority to do this. However, there is also nothing in the Bylaws that prohibits me from doing this. In RONR, it is considered a normal action to do so, in order to keep the operation of the organization moving. While some may question the authority to select a secretary pro tem, I think it is more of an imperative that we do so. Since I am not filling an LNC position, I believe my authority to appoint a volunteer (Dr. Lark) falls within the following: “The Chair is the chief executive officer of the Party with full authority to direct its business and affairs, including hiring and discharging of National Committee volunteers and paid personnel, subject to express National Committee policies and directives issued in the exercise of the National Committee’s plenary control and management of Party affairs, properties and funds.”
During our discussion among the EX members, it was mentioned that there is precedent for the EC making this selection, as was done when Bill Redpath was appointed treasurer pro tem by the EC upon the resignation of James Oaksun. However, there is also precedent for the Chair making the appointment, as was done when Bill Redpath was appointed treasurer pro tem by the Chair upon the resignation of Deryl Martin (2003).
It should be noted that the discussions between EC members about Dr. Lark filling this role came down to four in favor (Hagan, Redpath, Wiener and myself), one willful abstention (Dr. Lark) and one abstention by absence of stated opinion (Wrights). Since we now have only six EC members, and one known abstention, a vote in favor of four members of the EC is more than sufficient to formalize the appointment of Dr. Lark. We can still subsequently hold a formal EC vote to confirm my appointment, but my appointment is consistent with what the EC would do if it met, and I’d rather save the time inherent in scheduling and holding an EC meeting.
Of course, I recognize that one or more of you could object to my ruling that I have the authority to make this appointment, and I respect your right to do so. However, if you think I do not have the authority, I’m afraid we’re in a true Catch 22 scenario. If you believe I have over-stepped my authority, you can get enough others to join in the request for a mail ballot, but such a mail ballot can only be submitted to the LNC by the Secretary. If you do not accept this appointment, then who can submit the mail ballot to the LNC?
So I hope that we all accept this appointment and get this train back on the tracks.
Now, as to procedure for replacement, I intend to send a notice to the State Chairs list and membership that we have an opening for Secretary, and solicit self-nominations. I propose that we have a submission deadline of January 31, 2013 at midnight Eastern time. As soon as possible after that time, the secretary pro tem will submit a mail ballot on voting for the replacement from the full list of nominees, with our normal mail ballot deadlines. At first I thought this could take several votes, but I now think that this could be resolved in a single vote for the simple reason that any LNC member can change their vote prior to the deadline. If supporters of one or more minority candidates see that their choice is trailing, then they will be open to change their vote to a subsequent choice.
I want to send this email to the State Chairs no later than next Monday. If you have suggestions or feedback on better ways to proceed, please get them to me ASAP.
Chair, Libertarian Party