Minutes of the Conference Call for Libertarian State Leadership Alliance Executive Board 1-05-2014

Minutes of Teleconference Call of Libertarian State Leadership Executive Board

The conference call regular meeting of LSLA Executive Board came to order at 5:01 PM

Pacific Time on January 5, 2014.

Attendance:
Chair Brett Bittner Y
Vice Chair Patrick Dixon Y
Secretary Aaron Starr Y
Treasurer Alicia Mattson Y
At-Large Ken Moellman Y

Invited guests in attendance: Richard Burke

Treasurer’s Report

The Treasurer has seen almost no financial activity since the LSLA event, except for some
interest income. We have just over $8,000 in the bank. Quarterly financial statements will
go out next week.

Libertarian Party of Oregon

Pat Dixon moved to add Wes Wagner to the state chairs email list with posting privileges.

Aaron Starr offered a substitute motion, which was unanimously amended to read:

Resolved, that the LSLA Executive Board believes the entire matter concerning the
contested leadership at the Libertarian Party of Oregon is disruptive to the LSLA
and its purposes,
That the LSLA Executive Board has no desire to inject itself into this internal
conflict and respects the decision of the LSLA State Chairs when they credentialed
the Reeves leadership at its most recent annual meeting,
That we offer both sides the option of participating on the LSLA email list, provided
each participant expressly agrees to not drag their dispute onto that forum,
That it encourages both sides to mediate and amicably resolve their differences, and
That it will maintain this position until the legal process in Oregon is exhausted or
the State Chairs credential a different state chair at its next annual meeting.
The substitute motion became the main motion by a vote of 3-2, which was adopted by a
vote of 3-2.

Discussion of 2014 Annual Meeting

The Chair has not had the opportunity to connect with LNC Convention Management
Committee Chair Nancy Neale concerning the availability of space at the 2014 convention
site hotel to host the LSLA.
Set the next LSLA meeting date and time
Without objection, the next meeting was set for 12 January 2014 @ 2000 Eastern Time,
1700 Pacific Time.

Approval of minutes and adjourning of meeting

The minutes were approved without objection at 5:37 pm, whereupon the meeting
adjourned.

Aaron Starr, Secretary

46 thoughts on “Minutes of the Conference Call for Libertarian State Leadership Alliance Executive Board 1-05-2014

  1. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    This organization really needs to change their names if they which to be taken seriously. Perhapos they can call it: AFSLPASAAM ( A Few State Leaders Plus Aaron Starr and Alicia Mattson).

  2. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    Aaron propsed: “That the LSLA Executive Board has no desire to inject itself into this internal
    conflict”

    Of course, the fact that they’ve made the decision they did has continued to inject them into the internal dispute. They clearly don’t realize that the Reeves group has lost. The word “hubris” comes to mind..

  3. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    Oops, that’s what happens when I post something in a hurry. Thanks for the fix and the graphic, Paulie.

    (Sales is a word I write frequently, since that’s my business).

  4. Mark Vetanen

    First of all, the LSLA is not stating anything new, their same motion was rejected months ago, and I am sure it will be rejected again.

    Second, the LNC nor the Delegates in convention get to pick any State Leadership. All that the credentials committee did was choose one delegation over another, and the chair Mark Hinkle went along with that farce. There was a motion to over turn the chairs decision that failed, and that was that.

    Seriously, the LSLA leadership needs to pull their heads out of their asses, and anyone who supports this group needs to walk away from them.

  5. paulie

    Oops, that’s what happens when I post something in a hurry. Thanks for the fix and the graphic, Paulie.

    (Sales is a word I write frequently, since that’s my business).

    Happy to help.

  6. paulie

    First of all, the LSLA is not stating anything new, their same motion was rejected months ago, and I am sure it will be rejected again.

    Putting the matter on the agenda was what was rejected months ago. It was tabled until they filled a vacancy on the board, which was filled so now it got to actually be on the agenda and have the actual motion voted on.

  7. Nicholas Sarwark

    That the LSLA Executive Board has no desire to inject itself into this internal
    conflict and respects the decision of the LSLA State Chairs when they credentialed
    the Reeves leadership at its most recent annual meeting

    Translated into English: When the LSLA met in conjunction with the Libertarian Party of Colorado convention last Spring, the +/- 15 state chairs/leadership members in attendance gave Reeves a badge and let him participate in the LSLA business meeting.

  8. paulie

    Translated into English: When the LSLA met in conjunction with the Libertarian Party of Colorado convention last Spring, the +/- 15 state chairs/leadership members in attendance gave Reeves a badge and let him participate in the LSLA business meeting.

    Sounds like you are fluent.

  9. paulie

    The minutes do not indicate who voted which way. Does anyone know?

    Well, last time it was a 2-2 tie, with Dixon and Bittner on one side and Starr and Mattson on the other – then they added Moellman so he must have sided with Starr.

  10. Ken Moellman

    The explanation of my vote just went to the statechairs list, and I only ask that my request at the bottom be honored when it inevitably is reposted to IPR (remove email/phone). I fully explain the reasoning for how I voted, and I put in more time than I ever should have on the matter. I hate this issue and in order to avoid perpetuating the matter, I am not going to talk about it any more in a public forum. If a particular state chair has an issue, my contact information is included in the version that just went out over the list. I’m willing to talk about it in a way to clarify understanding of why I voted how I did, but otherwise I’m done with it. There are WAY more important things to do.

  11. paulie

    Ken’s post to lsla list:

    Doug, et al – As one of the people who voted in favor of the motion, I wanted to explain my vote. This will be my only note on the matter publicly on this list, because it’s my hope that this issue just goes away. I will not intentionally perpetuate it here, beyond explaining my vote. I spent hours researching, seeking counsel from several experts on various topics, and contemplating the situation. I looked at the issue from every possible angle, and in the end here’s how I came to that decision.

    (1) First and absolutely foremost, I am extremely saddened that this problem came up at all. I would be thrilled if the two factions could voluntarily come to an agreement, even if that was agreeing to disagree. And to let it get this personal is horrible. I strongly encourage Oregonian Libertarians who might be forwarded this message to act to end this dispute inclusively and conclusively before the state does it for you. Figure it out.

    (2) I believe this entire issue is a distraction to any group that tries to take it on. No one even wants to touch it any more. It’s a hot potato. I don’t want to hold the hot potato. LSLA has important National Convention stuff to do. This issue appeared on multiple agendas (before being removed) and had popped up in conversation on the LSLA list several times, and was obviously going to keep appearing on the agenda, all the while the LSLA’s part of the convention planning wasn’t really being addressed. It had to go away.

    (3) I do not believe that LSLA is an organization chartered to determine the rightful leadership of any state party; it is only a reflection of that rightful leadership.

    (4) Actions taken by the various parts of our national organization have been inconsistent; not definitive. LNC versus JC versus the LP National office versus the Convention body. (This is an area where I think it’s appropriate to talk about further action from us, the state chairs and members of LP National, to determine what the proper role of each of these national groups actually is in resolving this and other potential disputes).

    (5) The matter is still being adjudicated by the courts, and until there is a final decision on the matter, the matter is still open. Winning one court case does not end a dispute, as much as I think it would be great for the dispute to be conclusively resolved. Based on previous legal actions taken, it appears that both sides are willing to appeal ad infinitem because it has become personal, however there will come a time when the courts will reject any and all appeals on any grounds. Other than the unlikely scenario that one side gives up, that is when the decision from the courts is final.

    (6) I, as chair of LPKY, have no authority to take sides in the Oregon dispute. I do not want that authority, nor would I ever want another state chair making decisions for LPKY. I am not willing to say either side is right or wrong. I have my opinions on the matter as a result of the research I did; those opinions are irrelevant. (7) I believe that allowing both factions to participate in the LSLA email list is fair, until the LNC or the Convention Body acts to determine who the official affiliate is. That decision can be “whoever wins in court”, and in that case we’ll likely be waiting for years as the appeals process grinds on.

    (8) Are we really arguing over including people on an email list? Of course not; the LSLA mailing list issue is being used as a pawn in the greater scheme to attempt to give more or less legitimacy to one or the other faction. I see that, and I think it’s inappropriate to use LSLA as such. (9) The stipulation for the factions to stay quiet on the matter is for the sanity of the other 49 chairs. That’s also why I won’t perpetuate this topic beyond this email to explain my vote.
    The lesson here, for other state affiliates, is to be sure you have a mechanism to prevent this situation from ever happening in your state. LPKY will be reviewing its Constitution at our convention this year, for sure, to specifically address this issue.

    To reiterate; it should never get as personal as this. Ever. Go find a substance to share and relax. Talk it out. I hope this helps everyone understand my position. If any state chair wants to talk to me about it, I’d be willing to discuss this vote, or any other vote I’ve made (the few there have been) with them. The phone number in my signature is my LP number that usually forwards to my cell phone. I’ll be up for another hour or so tonight, if this is a burning issue for anyone. (If this is forwarded to IPR or elsewhere, please remove email and phone numbers — I don’t like spam and I’d do the same for you!).

    Ken Moellman
    State Executive Committee Chair
    Libertarian Party of Kentucky

  12. Nicholas Sarwark

    The minutes of the 2013 LSLA meeting are posted here for anyone who wants to examine the precedent cited for why Reeves is still recognized by the LSLA. 15 states were represented, though I know at least some of those names are neither state chairs nor on the governing body of their state’s Libertarian Party.

    It has been alleged that Mr. Starr paid for part of the Reeves group’s lawsuit. If that is true, some would question the propriety of him voting on this issue.

    Similarly, some would question the propriety of a named plaintiff who sat on the national Credentials Committee (Mr. Carling) casting the deciding vote to recommend that another named plaintiff’s (Mr. Reeves) delegation be sat at the 2012 Libertarian National Convention.

    I believe Ken is misinformed regarding whether the suit in Oregon is final. The Reeves group has lost a motion for summary judgment and their case has been dismissed. They can appeal that decision, but the appellate process does not stay the dismissal. In other words, it’s over, but if they win on appeal, it may be restarted.

  13. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    I agree with every point Nicholas made above.

    It’s becoming clear that the Reeves group doesn’t understand that they’ve essentially lost. In the meantime, the Libertarian Party of Oregon is moving forward. I’d l;ike to ask the Reeves group–again–if they really envision that, if they win by some miracle, the members of the Oregon party will accept them with open arms.

    I just don’t see that happening. What I see as a result would be that, several hundred dollars and several years later, the members of the LP of Oregon simply vote Wes and his group back in at the next election.,

  14. paulie

    If the state chairs don’t make the needed changes at LSLA and if we ge a decent LNC next term, the relationship between the two organizations should really be reexamined.

  15. paulie

    The annual meeting of the LSLA came to order at 10:10 AM on May 18, 2013 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Aurora, Colorado.

    Chairman Brett Bittner opened the event.

    Secretary Aaron Starr took attendance. The states registered in attendance were as follows:

    District of Columbia – Ryan Sabot
    Georgia – Brett Bittner
    Indiana – Matthew Wittlief
    Iowa – Keith Laub
    Michigan – Mary Buzuma
    Nebraska – Benjamen Backus
    New Hampshire – Richard Tomasso
    New Mexico – Elisheva Levin
    New York – Vicki Kirkland
    North Carolina – Joseph “J.J.” Summerell
    Ohio – Jillian Mack
    Oregon – Timothy Reeves
    South Carolina – Victor Kohler
    Texas – Patrick Dixon
    Wisconsin – Robert Burke

    No one from Colorado? How did that happen?

  16. Ken Moellman

    I didn’t go to the 2013 LSLA because it was in Colorado and I had no other reason to be there. IMO, the LSLA is primarily a training vehicle when it’s not doing stuff for LP Nat Convention; neither function requires annual meetings to sort out. I think it would be wise to modify LSLA to have bi-annual in-person meetings held in conjunction with the LP National convention, rather than holding annual meetings.

  17. paulie

    I think LSLA officers should be current state exec comm members in their states and that the LSLA needs to recognize the same affiliates as the LNC does, right or wrong, if it’s gong to be affiliated with the LNC in various ways.

  18. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    I just can’t take the LSLA seriously. Here is a good example of why. Good state leaders make sound judgements, not continue to live in Never-Neverland where everyone loves the people who have cost the Oregon LP a fortune in legal fees. I will continue to not support them..

  19. Chuck Moulton

    Ken Moellman wrote:

    IMO, the LSLA is primarily a training vehicle when it’s not doing stuff for LP Nat Convention; neither function requires annual meetings to sort out. I think it would be wise to modify LSLA to have bi-annual in-person meetings held in conjunction with the LP National convention, rather than holding annual meetings.

    You have it backwards. When LSLA held annual meetings not in conjunction with the national convention that provided training for state chairs and other state activists, it was far more useful to the state chairs and it was drama free. Nowadays it has deviated from its purpose and its executive board wrongly fashions themselves to have far more power than they were ever delegated — it used to be that all they did was plan the annual conference. The national office is in a far better position to administrate the email list than a rouge LSLA executive committee.

    I’m glad they had the Colorado conference. It’s too bad it was poorly attended. As for myself, I had planned on going, but a recently broken arm made travel less attractive to me at the time. Sorry my lack of attendance contributed to the problem.

    Nicholas Sarwark wrote:

    I believe Ken is misinformed regarding whether the suit in Oregon is final. The Reeves group has lost a motion for summary judgment and their case has been dismissed. They can appeal that decision, but the appellate process does not stay the dismissal. In other words, it’s over, but if they win on appeal, it may be restarted.

    Exactly right.

    Paulie wrote:

    The State Chairs should make some changes in LSLA leadership and bylaws at their next meeting.

    Yes. LSLA leadership and bylaws need to be substantially changed at the next opportunity given their flagrant disregard for the actual state chairs.

  20. Ken Moellman

    Chuck,

    I think we’re on the same page regarding the purpose of LSLA — primarily a vehicle for education. The convention stuff is also important though and based on my understanding had to go to someone besides the LNC.

    I think that holding a business meeting outside of NatCom is always going to have LOW attendance, and if there’s a concern over the “power” that body’s committee can wield, then such a meeting should not be held in non-NatCom years. I would tend to agree that 15 people shouldn’t be making decisions for 35 others; I would also say the solution is to make sure that meeting happens at NatCon. There’s no way I would have bought a plane ticket and flown to CO just to go to a meeting. (That’s also why you’ll never see me make a run for LNC)

  21. Wes Wagner

    This is my message to our board:

    As many of you know I have been kept off the State Chairs list since May of 2011 … after all this time and their keeping Reeves and Burke on the list, this is their resolution.

    I am inclined to put forward on the agenda that we address whether we should accept this offer or reconsider our relationship with the LSLA.

  22. paulie

    The 2008 LSLA convention in Nevada had around 100 people at it.

    Yep. Also 2007 in Florida, 2009 in South Carolina and 2010 in Texas were all well attended. None of them were in conjunction with national conventions but they were all in conjunction with LNC meetings and in the cases of Florida and Texas also with state conventions. That seemed to be a formula that worked. However, they scuttled it and perhaps did something else that I don’t know of which led to declines in attendance.

  23. paulie

    Geoffrey Neale

    7:42 PM (3 hours ago)

    to statechairs, lnc-discuss, wes.wagner
    Doug Craig wrote:

    “I would like an official ruling from the LNC or Chairman on who is the official of Oregon. .Thank you”

    Doug – thanks for the softball.

    It is my position that Wes Wagner is the Chair of the Oregon affiliate of the Libertarian Party.

    The Bylaws are very clear that only the LNC can establish or terminate a relationship with a state affiliate, and that there can only be one state level affiliate per state. The Bylaws are also clear that only the Judicial Committee can veto an action or decision of the LNC. However, it is just as clear to me that the delegates in convention can trump the Bylaws.

    The Judicial Committee ruled that the “Wagner” group is the official affiliate from Oregon.

    However, the Credentials Committee at our last convention decided to recognize the “Reeves” group, and took the matter to the delegates, who upheld their decision. My problem with this decision is that, according to the minutes, the Credentials Committee referred to RONR for what to do when there are “conflicting” groups. In my opinion, there can be no conflicting delegate submissions from two “affiliates” in one state because our Bylaws state there can only be one affiliate per state, and the Judicial Committee ruled that the “Wagner” group was the official affiliate. I think the Credentials Committee did not have any choice but to accept the Wagner delegates, but obviously they saw it differently.

    Subsequently, when the delegates upheld the “Reeves” delegates, it might be argued that the delegates were therefore ratifying the position that the “Reeves” group were the official affiliate, but I disagree. The motion that was voted on did not specify this position. In effect, the delegates sat individuals, without taking a position on the affiliate of record, which has created a huge problem, since the Bylaws specify that it is the responsibility of the recognized affiliate to submit the list of delegates. What a mess.

    Now on to the next issue: the state chairs list. Let’s be clear – this is an LP list. It’s hosted on lp.org. At some point in the past, administration was turned over to the LSLA. While it might be argued that this list is independent of the LP, it is not – the LP pays for it, and it is on the LP site. I think we have to keep this in mind. As long as the LP hosts this site, it needs to be able to exercise limited control over it. I think that limited control should be that the affiliates recognized on this list are only the affiliates recognized by the LNC, which is the sole explicit authority in the Bylaws that can recognize affiliates. Likewise, under our Bylaws, we can only have one affiliate per state.

    Personally, I think the best path would be to direct the LSLA to create and pay for its own list, or adhere to LNC decisions as to which “group” is the affiliate, or turn administration of the members of the list back over to LNC control.

    I see no upside for the LNC in allowing this argument to continue on a list paid for by the LNC. Either the argument needs to end, or the list needs to be truly separate.

    But these are just my opinions. Ruling on who the LNC recognizes as the official Oregon affiliate is straightforward. Deciding what action, if any, that the LNC takes must be an LNC decision.

  24. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    Those words from Mr Neale are fairly strong. Is it possible Aaron is starting to get under his skin?

  25. Stewart Flood

    I brought up the issue of the LNC hosting the list several years ago, when the Oregon issue became toxic after the JC ruling. I recommended (or I should say the IT Committee recommended) dumping it and making them run their own list. While I disagree with the outcome of the JC Ruling, as well as them even having the authority to rule based on the reason that was given for their interference, my opinion is what it was then: the coup was successful so we either make the LSLA adhere to it or cut them off. The LNC can’t make them do anything, so cutting all ties is the only choice. Using LNC servers to run the LSLA list makes sense, but only if they are part of the party. They obviously are not, so running their list, giving them committee appointment power, and deferring to them as having power of any kind is wrong.

    And I completely agree with the comments about the LSLA business meeting being only in conjunction with the national convention, the membership and board being returned to a composition of state party leaders only, and the return to education and the annual conference being the only “agenda” of the group.

    I (and others) stopped attending when the LSLA stopped being the LSLA.

    If the LSLA is part of the party, they cannot legally manage the vendors at the national convention. And if they are not, and are therefore “ok” to handle vendors, how can they have appointment power and be part of the LNC’s committee infrastructure.

    As I have said before, this is not right. The changes made at the Ohio LNC meeting when I objected during the debate on the motion are just as improper now (from an FEC perspective) as they were then.

  26. Liberty for America January 2014 is Published

    Surely the Party CEO can control use of our Party’s computer hardware facilities?

    Also, the coup was much earlier, when the other side advanced their entirely specious claim that the LPOR had adopted impossible quorum requirements. Unfortunately, the then-state-chair did not simply reject their claim and let the other side appeal it to the convention.

  27. paulie

    Surely the Party CEO can control use of our Party’s computer hardware facilities?

    I don’t know if Geoff has solo discretion over this. If he does, he’s either not aware of it or not willing to take action without the LNC voting on it as a body. But the LSLA is officially recognized in other ways too, such as committee appointments; as far as I know that is not even up to the LNC and would have to be dealt with in convention, but I could be wrong.

    Also, the coup was much earlier, when the other side advanced their entirely specious claim that the LPOR had adopted impossible quorum requirements. Unfortunately, the then-state-chair did not simply reject their claim and let the other side appeal it to the convention.

    Yes, that was also a coup. The whole thing has been a mess for many years, with many games played over definition of membership, join dates, membership rolls, bylaws, and so on.

  28. Wes Wagner

    Geoff has a certain amount of plenary authority of Staff. If he wanted to he could just direct them to take possession of the State Chairs administrator rights and be done with it. It rests on LNC Inc. hardware.

    There is little to no question that Geoff can do it… this is more as to whether he should or will.

  29. paulie

    Well, he’s usually prett savvy on all the bylaw and policy manual crap, so he probably knows exactly what he can and can’t do and most likely just doesn’t want to make a solo decision…but just in case yo could write him about it.

  30. Wes Wagner

    I sent Geoff a private one on one email with a very candid discussion of the options I see him as having available to him with no firm recommendation.

  31. paulie

    I’m thinking that nothing will most likely happen from the LNC side before the convention. I could be wrong.

    Also, I talked to Ken Moellman yesterday, and he said he wanted a definite answer from Geoff on who the LNC considers the affiliate in Oregon to be. Now we have it, so maybe he (and therefore LSLA since he was the deciding vote) will reconsider.

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