January 16, 1999

ARCHIVE DATA: The following are the minutes of the LPWV meeting held January 16m 1999.

MINUTES

of the
Libertarian Party of West Virginia
Executive Committee Meeting

1999-01-16

(Approved 1999-03-20)

Call to Order

The regular bimonthly meeting of the State Executive Committee of the Libertarian Party of West Virginia was held on Saturday, January 16th, 1999, in Ali Baba's Downtown Restaurant in Morgantown, West Virginia. A quorom being present, the meeting was called to order at 12:59. By unanimous vote, the minutes for the previous meeting of 1998-11-21 were approved as distributed by mail.

 

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Chair John Brown present
Vice Chair Richard Kerr, M.D. present
Treasurer John Sturgeon present
Secretary David Wallace Croft present
1st District Chair Bob Jones present
2nd District Chair Karl Swisher present
3rd District Chair Wallace Johnson, M.D. absent
VP/Membership Greg Henshall absent
VP/Campaigns Joseph Whelan, M.D. present
VP/Public Relations vacant absent
VP/Finance Michael Todd, M.D. present
Historian Larry Durrette absent

 

MEMBERS AND GUESTS

John Bartlett and Jim Stiles.

 

Reports of Officers, Boards, and Standing Committees

TREASURER

Mr. Sturgeon.

 

 

LPWV 1/1/98 thru 12/31/98
Payments 1998 $5,662.87    
Beginning Balance 1998 $460.74    
Deposits 1998   $9,271.72  
Total Cash Available 1998   $9,732.46  
Cash minus Payments     $4,069.59
     
LNC-Memberships     $345.00
Bell Atlantic-WV     $384.56
LDDS - Long Distance     $0.00
Printing & Mailing     $1,251.95
Room Rentals     $0.00
Advertising     $0.00
Press Releases     $0.00
P.O. Box     $40.00
Convention     $2,384.36
Account Credits     $754.00
WV Inter.Net     $103.00
Campaign Contributions     $400.00
Total Expenses     $5,662.87

Checking Account Balance: $4,069.59

 

Mr. Sturgeon stated that the end-of-year treasury balance was the best to date, due in part to Dr. Johnson's contributions from the remnant of his campaign funds.

Mr. Croft inquired whether the individuals who had stated that they would return campaign contributions received from the LPWV treasury had done so. Mr. Brown replied that he had discussed the matter with the individuals and decided that it would not be proper to do so. Mr. Croft inquired whether the parties responsible for taking the funds from the treasury without the authorization of the Executive Committee would be requesting retroactive permission to do so and to accept personal liability if they did not receive such permission. Mr. Brown replied that he had introduced the matter at the last meeting and had asked then whether there was a problem and only one person had objected. Mr. Brown requested that if there would be a vote on any issue of impropriety that he be given the opportunity to show how what they did was constitutional. Mr. Croft asked Mr. Brown to do so.

Mr. Brown quoted from the organizational purpose wherein the first order of business was to nominate and support candidates for public office. Mr. Croft concurred that this was the purpose but quoted from the constitution that the affairs of the LPWV shall be managed by the Executive Committee and that the Treasurer shall expend for funds under the direction of the Chair and the Executive Committee. Mr. Croft reminded Mr. Brown that he had stated himself at the last Executive Committee that he had decided not to allocate funds to his own campaign as it might be seen as inappropriate and that if anyone had a problem with it he would return it. Mr. Croft stated that he believed Mr. Brown knew at the time he took the funds that he was doing so without constitutional authority.

Mr. Brown stated that the act was a matter of necessity in that there was only a week before the end of the election and that the choice was to either help candidates in need or to not do so. Mr. Brown stated that when the request for funds was first made to him, he did not take it upon himself to make the sole decision and that he sought the opinions of Mr. Sturgeon and Dr. Johnson, the three of them being members of the original five founders of the state Party, and Dr. Whelan, the four of them making the decision. Mr. Brown further stated that he raised the issue at the last meeting to express the need for clearer directives in the constitution regarding such matters so that such future choices would not have to be made by him and that, given the vagueness of the constitution, if he and the other Executive Committee members consulted were to err, they wanted to do so in a manner that was favorable to the candidates.

Mr. Croft began to reply but was interrupted by a point of order from Mr. Jones that the topic was not germane to the report of the Treasurer. Mr. Brown ruled in concurrence. Dr. Kerr introduced a motion to suspend the rules to consider the matter at this time. Mr. Croft seconded. The motion passed.

Mr. Croft asked whether his understanding was correct that parties responsible for taking the funds did not plan to ask for retroactive permission. Mr. Sturgeon asked whether he, as Treasurer, was considered a member of that group. Mr. Croft replied that he believed Mr. Brown had accepted personal responsibility at the last meeting and that the question was directed primarily to him. Mr. Brown replied that if Mr. Croft desired to introduce a motion regarding the matter, he could do so.

Dr. Kerr inquired as to whether there was an explicit statement in the constituion that detailed the proceeding for the disbursement of funds. Mr. Croft replied that the Article III, Section 1 that the affairs of the LPWV shall be managed by the State Executive Committee. Dr. Kerr inquired as to whether there was something more specific on the matter as there are in other constitutions. Mr. Croft stated that he did have a motion to make on that matter.

Dr. Whelan expressed his desire to speak to the issue given that he was a recipient of $200.00 of Party funds. He stated that he desired the funds for one final commercial prior to the election and that, knowing that the Party supported such activities, he called Mr. Brown and requested the funds. He stated that Mr. Brown stated he would call some of the other members and inquire whether it would be appropriate and then subsequently sent him the money. Dr. Whelan paraphrased that the spirit of the law saves and the letter of the law kills. Dr. Whelan inquired of Mr. Croft why the Congressional candidates, given their substantial efforts, should be subjected to the ordeal of this debate at the current and previous meetings, what is to be gained by the discussion, and what was the crime.

Mr. Croft was granted the floor to respond. Mr. Croft stated that he had given the parties responsible the opportunity to ask for retroactive permission to clear the air. He stated that the question was on the matter of the law and the spirit and that the spirit here was who was going to control the treasury of the LPWV. He questioned whether it would be the members who contributed the funds to the Party through their control of the constitution and electing the Executive Committee which makes such decisions or whether a few of the core founding individuals would be permitted to make such decisions unilaterally. He concluded by stating that this was the question and spirit of what was being decided on that date.

Dr. Todd introduced a motion to grant retroactive permission to disburse the funds to the candidates. Dr. Todd suggested that more explicit procedures for the disbursement of funds be adopted in the future. The motion was seconded.

Mr. Bartlett raised the issue that he had asked for campaign funds support from the LPWV recently but had been refused. Mr. Brown responded that, at the time of Mr. Bartlett's request, funds in the treasury were not available and the ability to make the subsequent allocations were due to infusions from the Unified Membership Plan. Mr. Brown stated that when the money became available later, he and others discussed giving equal amounts to all of the candidates but then decided that the amounts would be too small; they then decided to give funds just to the candidate making the most recent request and the other candidate who paid $1,600.00 for ballot access. Mr. Croft requested for clarification that one candidate had asked initially and was rejected and another candidate had asked later and was given the funds. Mr. Brown confirmed, explaining that one could not give money that was not available.

The motion passed by majority vote.

 

VICE CHAIR

Dr. Kerr reported asking faculty to volunteer to head up the WVU student Libertarians organization.

 

VP/CAMPAIGNS

Dr. Whelan announced that he has filed to run for the U.S. Senate.

 

VP/MEMBERSHIP

Absent.

 

VP/PUBLIC RELATIONS

Mr. Brown reported that Mr. Handleman, having moved out of the state, has resigned his position of VP/Public Relations. Mr. Brown had not appointed a replacement at that time.

 

VP/FINANCE

Dr. Todd requested suggestions on how to raise funds. He was queried about his experience in this role on Dr. Kerr's campaign and responded that he had focused on health professionals. He received a number of suggestions from those present:

  • a publication such as a book could be sold with the proceeds donated to the Party;
  • mailed solicitations -- local party representatives be contacted to gather the addresses of registered Libertarians;
  • auction off government organizations in effigy as was done at the state convention;
  • draw funds from a membership campaign;
  • convince businesses that funding the Party would result in lower taxes; and
  • accept donations via a credit card off of a website.

It was mentioned that Success '99 will be held nearby in February and June.

1ST DISTRICT CHAIR

Mr. Jones reported soliciting local members for candidacy. He is aiming for a full slate in the year 2000 elections.

Mr. Bartlett filed for a local City Council position to assist in establishing recognition for later elections. He is recruiting a candidate for Sheriff. Mr. Stiles may run for Commissioner.

Dr. Kerr cautioned that a bad candidate could be worse than no candidate. Mr. Jones advised that there was a trend that the more candidates of a Party on a ballot, the more votes each of the candidates in that Party received.

 

2ND DISTRICT CHAIR

Mr. Swisher reported his recruiting efforts and that he is in the process of organizing Lewis County.

 

3RD DISTRICT CHAIR

Absent.

 

HISTORIAN

Absent.

 

Reports of Special Committees

CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS COMMITTEE

Committee chair Mr. Henshall was absent but had recently distributed an update to the constitution and bylaws revision proposal to those on the electronic mailing list. The question was raised as to who were the members of the committee.

It was suggested that any revision should empower the Chairman for flexibility.

Mr. Croft introduced a bylaw taken from the Libertarian Party of California, "Bylaw 8: Finance and Accounting", and recommended its adoption. It was suggested that a committee be formed to make a budget recommendation at the next meeting. Mr. Brown appointed Mr. Sturgeon as the head of the Budget Committee.

It was discussed that some form of procedure needed to be in place to handle monetary affairs. Mr. Jones suggested that the Chair have veto authority over a proposed budget. Mr. Croft motioned that the California LP "Bylaw 8: Finance and Accounting" be adopted as a standing rule:

Section 1.

The fiscal term of the Party shall begin on January 1 of each year. The annual budget shall be provided to each member of the Executive Committee immediately following the close of each convention.

Section 2.

The Treasurer may authorize expenditures for any item incorporated in the proposed budget until the Executive Committee has ratified the budget for the current year.

Section 3.

The Party shall not enter into any contract, incur any expense in a non-budgeted category, or incur any expense in a budgeted category greater than the amount budgeted by more than $1000.00 without a two-thirds vote of the entire Executive Committee. Anyone who incurs such financial liability without such approval shall be personally liable.

Section 4.

All disbursements shall be made solely by check. No disbursements shall be made without supporting documentation.

Section 5.

The Executive Committee shall cause an annual budget to be projected at its final meeting for the fiscal year for ratification the following year.

The motion was seconded. Mr. Croft spoke for the motion as an interim measure. There was further discussion. The motion was lost.

 

Special Orders

Mr. Brown reported year-end membership numbers. There were 143 members of the LPWV at the end of 1998 with 132 of those having signed the national Pledge and thus also being members of the LP. There were 213 members of both the LPWV and LP the previous year. The drop in membership was attributed to the non-renewals of those given free initial memberships. Mr. Brown estimated that roughly 20 to 25% of those granted membership through the free initial membership campaign renewed and remarked that the overall membership count trend was still rising. Mr. Brown advocated a campaign to renew memberships.

 

Unfinished Business and General Orders

The tabled bylaw motion that "Properties shall only be disbursed for the purposes described in the LPWV Constitution. The approval of all disbursements shall require a two-thirds vote of the Executive Committee" was raised. Mr. Croft motioned to split the previous motion. Seconded. The motion carried 4 to 3 to split the motion.

The motion that "Properties shall only be disbursed for the purposes described in the LPWV Constitution" failed 3 to 4. The motion that "The approval of all disbursements shall require a two-thirds vote of the Executive Committee" died for the lack of a second.

Mr. Brown stated his concern that Mr. Croft, as the Secretary, had placed the tabled motion in the order "Unfinished Business" and excluded other items as a targeted reproach to his earlier actions regarding the use of treasury funds. Mr. Croft raised a point of order regarding parliamentary procedure that members of a meeting should not ascribe motivations to the actions of other members within a meeting, that only tabled motions are placed under "Unfinished Business", and that items taken in "Special Order" require a two-thirds vote. Mr. Brown ruled that discussion of all items from previous meetings would be placed under "Unfinished Business" at the next meeting. Mr. Croft appealed. Mr. Brown put the question of appeal to a vote as to who was in favor of immediately discussing the decision to hold a primary election in the current order of "Unfinished Business". Mr. Croft raised a point of order but was not recognized. The appeal/motion failed/carried by majority vote.

There was a discussion on the merits of holding in the year 2000 campaign a primary election, a nominating convention, or both. Dr. Whelan voiced his opposition to including independent candidates within the proposed Libertarian primary election. There was concern that a primary election would allow a small group to take over the leadership of the Party. Mr. Brown suggested that it would be easier to do so under our current system of having just a nominating convention due to the small numbers that attend.

Dr. Todd suggested that Mr. Brown broadcast by e-mail an enumeration of the pros and cons of the decision to hold a primary election. Mr. Brown suggested that he would speak in favor of holding a primary election at the next meeting in March, that another could speak against a primary at the subsequent meeting in May, and that the issue would be scheduled for a vote in July.

It was mentioned that Mr. Hornberger, a potential Libertarian Presidential nominee, would work hard to outpoll the Republicans in West Virginia if given the opportunity.

 

New Business

Mr. Bartlett suggested that the County Chairs should be members of the Executive Committee. Mr. Croft noted that WV state law would eventually require the Executive Committee to expand to 71 members. Mr. Croft proposed the formation of a smaller Operational Committee to conduct Party business between Executive Committee meetings. Mr. Brown stated that we need to make preparations in the event that the Party triggers such state law by garnering more than 10% of the gubenatorial vote in the upcoming election. He cited that Libertarians received 12% of the overall votes in the 1998 elections.

Mr. Jones raised the issue of acquiring funds and getting organized via the constitution.

Dr. Whelan suggested we get on the media to promote libertarianism to keep our name out there.

Mr. Bartlett suggested that we identify our candidate slate.

There was discussion about the old voter registration forms still being used. A lawsuit or public demand to use the new forms with the Libertarian Party listed on them was considered for the press it would garner. Dr. Whelan introduced a motion to get the registration forms updated. Mr. Brown proposed an amendment to write it as a document that would be distributed. The motion passed by unanimous vote.

Dr. Kerr asked about getting a list of the registered voters from the county clerks. Dr. Whelan introduced a motion to ask the County Chairs to acquire the data. Mr. Brown volunteered to contact the Chairs for that information. The motion was withdrawn.

There was discussion and an announcement about candidates for city council.

Mr. Brown volunteered to cover the arrangements for the next meeting in Charleston on March the 20th. Dr. Whelan requested that the Secretary give more advance notice of such meetings by mail. Mr. Croft responded by citing the recent standing rule that determines the date of such meetings but consented to mail announcements earlier.

 

Adjournment

Meeting adjourned at 15:22.

 

Attachments

None.