January 23, 2009 – 11:40 pm [As published in the Daily Herald on Tuesday, 27 May 2008 in response to a column in this section a week ago by party officials Stan Lockhart and Marian Monnahan.]
Mr. Lockhart and Ms. Monnahan brag about the “strong representation” in UT County. The leadership of the party is so strong in fact, that grass root party members have little voice in the party. We are being led by our party leaders, regardless of where/how our grass root people may want to be led.
Many delegate positions are made by appointment by party leaders, instead of election by the precinct being represented. In spite of our constitution, delegates are appointed from a group of volunteers, rather than according to our state constitution.
Article XII, Sec. 2, C, of the Republican Party constitution clearly states how delegates are to be determined. This provision makes no mention of allowing appointed delegates. There is no provision for delegate selection by party leaders. Delegates are to be properly elected people, i.e., elected as delegates by their own precincts. Delegate seats must be (”shall be”) allocated down to the precincts based on a particular formula that represents each precinct’s relative Republican strength. There is no other authorized basis for allocating discretionary or replacement delegates, nor any based on party leadership, volunteer status, or other elected office positions.
When ex officio, automatic delegate positions are granted by party leaders, the effect is to dilute the representation given to the individual precincts through their elected delegates.
Delegate positions should be for the express purpose of enabling grass root representation, yet we very likely have 10-15 percent of our delegates not elected by grass roots precinct members to these positions. The question then must arise, whom do these automatic delegates represent?
In Utah County’s most recent convention, even 2 percent of the vote could have drastically changed the outcome of several races, and who was/wasn’t forced into a primary, giving the general population the right to choose. The impact skews grass root representation, and allows it to become, not a “voice of the people” but a “voice of the party leaders”.
Delegates have been appointed by party leadership to represent different precincts than in which they live.
Mr. Lockhart and Ms. Monnahan refer to fairness.
Refusal to make public, as prescribed by state law, the party’s delegate lists is biased and unfair as well as a violation of the established rules. The party constitution states in Article XII, Sec. E, 2, that all such listings shall include, at a minimum, the name, address, and phone number when available, and the basis of eligibility, of each person listed. Some who request the list get it with less than the minimum information required by rule, others get the list with additional contact information included, like e-mail addresses, or the required basis of eligibility, as mandated by our party constitution.
We have seen in recent years discretionary use of supposedly unbiased party mailing capabilities, even financial contributions, to some candidates and not others.
Our elected delegates are routinely unable to be heard. We have suffered from the scheduling of delegate sponsored amendments, resolutions, etc., after other non-business functions during conventions. Ultimately, this inappropriate scheduling winds up bringing about the adjournment of the meeting without considering any delegate raised issues and effectively silences our elected delegates from having a voice. Rarely has the scheduling been over-ruled by the delegates. This is party leadership manipulation, demonstrating inappropriate control over elected delegate input, and has essentially eliminated the voice of the individual Republican grass root party member through their elected delegates.
Mr. Lockhart, along with Ms. Monnahan, are well learned in how to manipulate and control the party for their own purposes. The claim is that this makes a strong party, when in fact, it damages the party. All one has to do is look at the numbers. We have approximately 3,500 delegates in the state. Often, about one-third bother to attend our state convention, likely because they know they have little or no voice. The “strong representation” to which Mr. Lockhart and Ms. Monahan refer is not strong representation of the people, it is strong (and practically insurmountable) representation of/by our party leaders.
In the words of General Douglas MacArthur: “I am concerned for the security of our great nation, not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within.”
• Provo resident Russell Sias, a retiree, is a former Republican precinct chair.