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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Phillies Slams Bylaw Proposal On Chair Experience

The LP Bylaws Committee proposed in October an anti-takeover provision that says in part: "No person may serve as Chair or Vice-Chair who has not served as a member of the National Committee prior to the last general election for President." Yesterday LP presidential candidate and frequent LP Chair candidate George Phillies claimed on LPradicals that
What that sentence means is that only members of the current LNC can _serve_ (that's not the same as "be elected" ) as the next National Chair, and the current LNC (or perhaps its successor) are the only people who can supply the National Chair through the year 2014. Ernie Hancock, who is running for National Chair this time, appears to have worked out a great advantage he has relative to past years: He will be running against the incumbent. His disadvantage, if you note the tense of "has served", is that if this Bylaw passes he will be unable to serve as National Chair, even if he is elected.
I don't see how Phillies can read the rule that way, unless he's saying that every living alumnus of the LNC who served before Nov 2004 is also currently an LNC member -- which I find very hard to believe.

Scott Lieberman points out on the BylawsCom blog that it's somewhat vague whether "member" includes alternates. I would guess not.

The anti-takeover intent of the rule is good, but I don't see the point of requiring LNC tenure farther back than the previous term, and the qualifying positions might be expanded to include, say, state chairs. The more interesting anti-takeover proposal is the one to lengthen Judicial Committee terms to 14 years and stagger them so the whole committee never turns over at once. The core idea of avoiding complete turnover is a good one, but 14 years seems too long, and there should be some way for a super-majority of NatCon delegates to prematurely terminate a JudCom member. Maybe the margin of victory needed to defeat a JudCom incumbent could be proportional to the time left in her term?

1 comment:

George Phillies said...


Unless I have missed something, Ernie has never been an LNC member. Therefore, he cannot under this Bylaw be elected as chair.

You are correct, and I had not thought of the point because it is historically not what we see very often, that if someone who had once upon a time say in 1974 been an LNC member wanted to come back and run for chair, under this rule they would be allowed to to do so. However, no former LNC member from out of the past is running for chair, and therefore the Bylaw limits LNC Chairship to the current members.

Also, the solution description does not match the Bylaw text. If you actually said in the Bylaw "To be elected to the LNC you must have been a member of the Party for at least five years" then the Bylaw would agree with the solution.