Geoff Neale will seek re-election as LNC chair

Posted on Facebook yesterday:

I have decided to seek re-election to the position of Chair of the Libertarian Party at our upcoming convention in Columbus, Ohio from June 26th to June 29th. I have waited this long to announce because I think it’s more important to fulfill the duties of Chair than to campaign.I don’t anticipate doing much electioneering between now and then, because I intend on putting my priority on LP business first. For those of you who intend on being delegates to this convention, I would appreciate your support.

Geoffrey Neale

38 thoughts on “Geoff Neale will seek re-election as LNC chair

  1. Shane

    In my experience, most Chairs don’t do much anyway. Aside from running LNC meetings each quarter, they call in every few weeks to ask “what’s up?”

    LNC Dicsuss is the most activity any board member takes part in and that, as we know, is a collosal waste of time with no benefit to the party.

    The LNC needs a clean sweep — including regional reps.

  2. Starchild

    It’s a timeworn campaign tactic of incumbents to pretend to be above the fray — I’m not going to spend time campaigning, I’m just going to focus on doing my job — because they know that’s what many people want to hear.

    I think Geoff knows full well that by going around to different state conventions, he effectively *has* been campaigning, even if he doesn’t want to call it that.

  3. Kevin Knedler

    Ditto to the “waste of time” with LNC Disgust or was that Discuss– LOL. The LNC needs to have 3 to 5 major goals, and put a laser focus on those and GET IT DONE. Many states are in need of some help (not welfare)in basic items like ballot access lobbying (NOT petitioning) and IT database and websites. I pushed hard for this in 2010 – 2012 and you would think I had three horns growing from my head. Goodness, we need to get into the 21st century. The American public is screaming for another choice and another way, instead of the same old tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum of the GOP and DEM. Kevin

  4. Mark Axinn

    It is the proper role of the National Chair to attend as many State Conventions as he can, just as I attend several New York LP chapter conventions in my capacity as State Chair.

    I can absolutely guaranty that I am not electioneering when I attend them and don’t believe Geoff was either when he addressed the LPNY Convention this year. He attended at my invitation.

    We have two excellent candidates for LNC Chair so far.

  5. Shawn Levasseur

    Hey, no matter how little electioneering Neale has done, it’s by far more than he did two years ago.

    It could be he’s running before he gets drafted again. 🙂

  6. Joe

    I realize I am becoming an increasingly cynical, angry and resigned curmudgeon. I offer this brief preamble for full disclosure.

    With that context in mind, I offer the following for the consideration of those delegates voting for the LNC Chair in Columbus.

    IMO Chairman Neale’s insertion into the Audit Committee process in October of last year was an impeachable offense. Once the Audit Committee is populated its job is to review the work of the paid staff and their supervisors, namely the four officers of the LNC — none of whom, under the bylaws (which Neale wrote or claims to have written) can be an officer.

    On October 15, 2013 I received a phone call from the Chair informing me that Brett had resigned from the Audit Committee due to a conflict of interest and that Aaron Starr had fraudulently deposited LP funds into his “personal checking account in Oxnard, CA.” (BOTH of these claims were false.) The chair then claimed that unless I could prove I was not complicit in these misdeeds that I too would be removed from the Audit Committee. He also made it VERY clear that if I was not involved, then I would be the ONLY member of the Audit Committee for the second year of our two year terms. He then threatened various consequences should I breathe a word of this to Aaron Starr as the investigation was still ongoing.

    I got off the call fairly quickly; I was both angry and late meeting two friends from Ulaanbaatar Mongolia who I was taking to the Magic Castle in Hollywood for the first time.

    I’m not especially proud of my decision to resign from the Audit Committee (and while I have apologized to Aaron Starr for resigning directly to the LNC without a conversation with him first, I was frankly not happy about the amount of work involved — well beyond a simple review of the report of the independent auditor we had hired — getting into the details of the (IMO) FRAUD that was the Michael Cloud series of invoices designed to stay “under the radar” of the required written contract and legal counsel review, or the mess of Carla Howell’s contract and moving expenses (that involved the prior chair, Mark Hinkle, but which Mr. Neale was likewise apparently supporting (what, more than exceptionally minor) consequences have come from those financial misdealings?)). Aaron is an effective financial auditor, but the work we were tasked with as a last stopgap was oversight work that should have come from the ED, or Chair, or Treasurer or other officers. It passed by each of those without corrective action (or apparently even being noticed).

    Bottom line: I do not support Mr. Neale for chair (for what its worth), not only because of my direct experience with him while serving on the Audit Committee, but also for his admitted throwing Bill Redpath “under the bus” in his 2012 speech for chair by utterly misrepresenting what occurred when he (Neale) resigned as Treasurer during one of Bill’s terms as chair.

    Finally, his inability to create any kind of effective team among the other three officers indicates an inability to be an effective manager. The roles of vice-chair, treasurer and secretary have been ineffective to vacant at best. I see this as a symptom of his inability to delegate, motivate and lead, which was certainly what I experienced in full measure during my term on the audit committee.

  7. Been There, Done That

    I think the LNC should either be disbanded or new leadership needs to actually lead. The current and previous chairmen have both been milquetoast. People wonder why voter reg numbers are up, but the increase in memberships (and, as a result, viable candidates) have not followed suit.

    What good does it do to have a Chair who travels Europe more than the US, believes (and said publicly) that Libertarians can’t get elected in the US, and now says he’s concentrating on his job? What job is that, exactly? I haven’t seen hide nor hair of the guy since he got elected in 2012…aside from certain characters at the national level poking their noses into states that they have no business meddling in, going behind the backs of state leaders, and forgetting that Libertarians don’t like a top-down power structure. I find these actions, and emails/words from some, to be inherently UN-Libertarian.

    Based on the shenanigans and BS that was prevalent throughout the last two national conventions, I am simply inclined to believe that more of the same will continue. All anyone will get out of it is more of the same, if Neale and the current LNC are re-elected.

    How about the LNC figuring out how to practice what they preach? How about a Chair who leads from the frontlines and not from the rear? How about the LNC cleaning up its own act before trying to publicly condemn the Ds and Rs for what they’re doing? Hypocrisy, anyone?

    I had heard, a long time ago, that when selecting leadership, you have to be proactive to get what you want, or you’ll end up getting what you deserve. I think the LP deserves better…if enough people pull their heads out and start looking for new ways to do the things that a freedom loving people actually deserve.

    “A man is no less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years,” Lysander Spooner

  8. Mark Axinn

    >”Based on the shenanigans and BS that was prevalent throughout the last two national conventions…”

    BT,DT–I wasn’t in Las Vegas so I can’t address that one, but I was in St. Louis in 2010 and thought it was a great Convention. Exactly what shenanigans took place there to which you refer?

  9. Joseph Buchman

    Mark Axinn @ June 4, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    “Ulaanbaatar Mongolia??? Joe knows people from some remarkable places!”

    Naidalaa and his wife Khulan, two of our dearest friends. (Most of the others we met in Mongolia are living in Chicago and Denver now!!) Cindy and I are trying to get a US tourist visa for their 13 year old daughter to come to the USA to spend the summer with us (she was just turned down). Congressman Bishop (who I ran against in 2008 for Utah’s first district, US House) is trying to help. But our Embassies seem to be impossible to deal with for “legal” (read: bureaucratically approved) immigration — while our borders remain crazy open.

    So stupid. So unfair. So intentionally designed, it seems to me, to encourage law breaking.

    But that’s part of the reason I remember that call so well. I’d just changed into a suit and we were trying to hurry to Hollywood to beat the traffic.

    See this from 2001 — the year we took all four of our kids to Khovd Mongolia

    TECHNOS MAGAZINE ARTICLE

  10. Andy

    “Been There, Done That June 4, 2014 at 3:19 pm
    I think the LNC should either be disbanded or new leadership needs to actually lead.”

    Disbanding the LNC is not possible or practical for the continuation of the Libertarian Party. I do agree that there needs to be some serious changes though.

    “The current and previous chairmen have both been milquetoast. People wonder why voter reg numbers are up, but the increase in memberships (and, as a result, viable candidates) have not followed suit.”

    The main reason that voter registration numbers are up for the Libertarian Party is because the word libertarian has become more popular than it has been in the past, and most of this is because of Ron Paul, and a few others, like Andrew Napolitano and John Stossel. The fact that the word libertarian is now more popular than ever, and the fact there has been an increase in the number of people checking the Libertarian Party box on their voter registration forms in the states that have partisan voter registration (which I think is about half of them), is a good sign, but the fact that this has not lead to a big spike in membership in the Libertarian Party is a sign that the LNC and several state LP affiliates are dysfunctional.

    I think that the Libertarian Party has the potential to be much larger than it is in terms of dues paying members and in terms of the amount of money the party raises, but it is going to take some serious changes with the LNC and in a lot of the state parties to make it happen.

  11. paulie

    On facebook, Geoff said he will answer questions that are posed to him here. He would also be up for debating Nick and/or any other candidates that run for the position.

    Geoff, if you have already tried to post here, if you have never posted at IPR before your first comment has to be approved. After that you can post freely. I will approve our comment if I see it in moderation.

    Everyone else if you have questions for Geoff ask away. That includes Nick (and Geoff is free to ask Nick questions on Nick’s thread; I will set up a neutral thread for questions for both candidates, and any that join them if someone does not beat me to it.

  12. David Colborne

    Here’s a question for the Chair candidates:

    What should be the primary focus for the national Libertarian Party over the next two years?

  13. Nicholas Sarwark

    What should be the primary focus for the national Libertarian Party over the next two years?

    Not just focusing on the next two years, but also the next twenty.

  14. Geoffrey Neale

    An actual question: good.

    Nick and I agree, but I’ll phrase my response differently.

    If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you ever get there?

    In this LNC, we tried to get into developing a strategy. I quickly came to the conclusion that most of the current LNC are not suited to strategic analysis. It has been suggested we bring in “professionals” to assist us, and that might be worthwhile, but it costs money, and it still cannot turn non-strategic thinkers into strategic thinkers..

    However, I think the simple answer to this question, for both the next two years and the next twenty is – grow.

  15. Geoffrey Neale

    Dr. Buchman,

    You and I had a private conversation that you have now “disclosed” on multiple occasions.

    The problem is that you and I have distinctly different memories of that conversation. You claim I said things and made threats that I have no recollection of. So here we are, with neither or us able to corroborate what really was said. Perhaps I am suffering from “selective memory”. Perhaps you are. More likely is that we both remember the conversation differently and wrong.

    I did intercede in the Audit process, more than I wanted to. Most of it was to force staff to toe the line.

    The other major point was when it became apparent that the audit report from the external auditor was authored by both the external auditor, and Aaron Starr. From conversations with the external auditor, I determined certain recommendations in that report exceeded what the external auditor would have proposed.without the Audit Committee involvement, yet those recommendations were delivered to the LNC as if they were solely from the external auditor.

    I think this violates the scope of the Audit Committee as defined in the Bylaws.

    We passed the recommended Policy Manual changes, and we have now violated one of those Policy Manual changes, with the consent of Aaron Starr, myself and the Treasurer. The flaw is in the language that was “proposed” by our external auditors, which goes beyond what they recommend to their clients,

    The language basically states that if you don’t have a receipt, then you are on the hook for the expense. Even if there is a credit card charge to show the transaction. Wes Benedict used his LNC credit card to pay for parking. The legitimacy of the expense itself is unquestioned. The machine spit out a blank piece of paper. According to the Policy Manual, Wes should be punished for this. Our audit firm has said that they would never recommend a policy as extreme as ours because of circumstances like this.

    As to “throwing Bill Redpath under the bus”, there were other people in the room when I said that, and I’ll be happy to get their input. I was asked by Mark Hinkle to run as Vice-Chair in 2002, and I told him that in order to beat Bill Redpath, I would have to “throw him under the bus”, and publicly state why I had resigned as Treasurer, because people who did not want me to win that race would have labelled me a “quitter”. I also said that I was unsure at that time of whether or not I wanted to do that, because of the respect I have for Bill Redpath.

    Back in 2006, as Treasurer, I prepared the preliminary budget, the EC discussed it, and Bill Redpath said he wanted to add a BIG chunk of money into the budget for Ballot Access. I asked him for where we should add the revenues, and what the associated costs of raising those funds would be, so that I could prepare a “balanced” budget. By the way, anything else that anyone else wanted in the budget had to be accompanied by additional revenues, or corresponding cuts in expenses, or both. I never got any feedback on this, so I did not add the BIG chunk of money to the budget.

    In the budget LNC meeting, Bill moved to add the same BIG chunk into the budget, again without corresponding revenues and associated costs, and I objected. I said that we would have an unbalanced budget, and Bill argued that we could fix that at a later LNC meeting.There was a vote, and I lost. I resigned, and told the LNC that they needed a Treasurer they would listen to when it came to the budget.

    I did not go public, or go on a suicide mission against Bill Redpath, because I saw no value in it. I respect Bill Redpath and what he does for the LP. I felt then, and feel the same today – Bill Redpath as Chair should have listened to his Treasurer, and threw some numbers out for us to consider. I also feel that the LNC should have done their job.

    Paulie has told me that he researched the minutes, and my story is accurate. However, in light of full disclosure, I said the number was $500K, but it was only $250K. Mea culpa.

    I would never have mentioned this publicly as a “cause celebre”, except that I knew that if I ever sought LNC office at the National level, I would have to go on the offensive against those who do not like me, who were publicly spreading the “Geoff is a quitter” message on the floor.

    I have no more to say about this at this time.

  16. Geoffrey Neale

    Kevin, I agree.

    As Chair, everything I do, or don’t do, will be viewed as acts or words supporting a re-election, unless I was to publicly state that I was NOT running for re-election. I get that – so should everyone in a political party.

    It was not the reason I went to the states I did over the past two years. I may be an an unusual Libertarian, but I like people. I also like solutions. I think collaboration is better than “picking sides”.

    People have placed me into “factions” without my consent, and without my approval. I find that the answers to many of our problems are not exclusive to any one group.

    To paraphrase George Phillies: “The enemy is out there, not inside.”

  17. Geoffrey Neale

    Sorry, got that last one wrong – I should have been answering Starchild, not Kevin

  18. Geoffrey Neale

    I get this kind of attitude all of the time: “We need to be more grassroots” or “We shouldn’t be a top-down organization”.

    If you want a more “grassroots organization”, I do not know how you go about asking permission from the LNC, or establishing that the LNC has jurisdiction to give permission. Get off your butt and just do it! Don’t ask permission.

    The LNC has no authority over the states, and should not. Each state should seek its own way, and be wildly successful. Some states do better than others, and the success or lack thereof is not due to the LNC.

    Can the LNC help? It can, Should it? Yes.

  19. David Colborne

    From Nick:

    Not just focusing on the next two years, but also the next twenty.

    From Geoffrey:

    If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you ever get there?

    In this LNC, we tried to get into developing a strategy. I quickly came to the conclusion that most of the current LNC are not suited to strategic analysis. It has been suggested we bring in “professionals” to assist us, and that might be worthwhile, but it costs money, and it still cannot turn non-strategic thinkers into strategic thinkers..

    However, I think the simple answer to this question, for both the next two years and the next twenty is – grow.

    Okay – how? I’ll grant that being Chair doesn’t make you President; at best, it means you don’t get to vote on anything the EC does unless there’s a tie. However, what specifically would either of you think you should accomplish as Chair (that, presumably, you couldn’t accomplish without being Chair, or that would be considerably more difficult without the title) to facilitate a long-term vision and/or growth?

  20. Geoffrey Neale

    Here’s a question for Nick: What is your vision of the proper role of the LNC?

    Here’s mine:

    The LNC should be just as important to the American political scene as the DNC and RNC, which is not very important at all.

    The reason the RNC and DNC are not important is because there are thousands of elected officials to speak for their respective parties. Until we have elected officials of significant stature, only the LNC can fill the role as spokesperson.

    The LP needs this role to be filled by someone. The real success of the LP is dependent upon the success of the affiliates, but only the LNC is in the position to pursue national strategies towards getting there, hopefully with the affiliates as allies. The LP needs to be viewed as a game-player before it can become a game-changer. This needs to be done nationally, at the state level, and locally.

    The proper role of the LNC, therefore, is as a collaborator, not a ruler, and not a servant. One day, no one in the states will give a damn about the LNC because our party is a major player in the game, and I am fine with that.

    However, we have way too much in-fighting when we should be out-fighting. I refuse to tell any libertarian to not support their state because their leadership sucks, If someone tells me that they hate their state leadership, I usually challenge them to change it if they don’t like it.

    We can do much more if we agree to work together, or agree to work independently, than if we work to destroy each other. Our enemies are laughing at us.

  21. Geoffrey Neale

    How do we grow, and what role does the LNC play in that?

    First, we have a problem with our size. We have a staff of seven. Any one can be replaced at any time, but the budget only supports seven people. Many of their roles are administrative, or revenue generation, or informational. In other words, they have jobs to do. We could change their priorities, and cut services like LP News, but there would still only be seven people. We could improve efficiency by investing in better tools, but there would still be seven people. This is not a flexible resource pool.

    Next, I think we have an institutional problem with the LNC, and many very good people do not seek to join the LNC. There are four Officers with assigned roles, five at large REPRESENTATIVES and nine regional REPRESENTATIVES. Nowhere in the Bylaws does it state that these 14 people have anything they must do, except represent.

    Half of these members cannot be removed by the LNC for any reason.

    It would be very valuable to whoever is the next Chair if the LNC had more people who think they are on the LNC to make things happen, rather than order seven people to do more, but there aren’t. There are some members who work extremely hard on behalf of the LP while on the LNC, such as Mark Hinkle, Arvin Vohra and Bill Redpath.

    It would also be valuable to have multiple teams of volunteers who will donate their time for things that need to be done, but this seems to be left to staff too.

    So that is what the Chair has to work: staff, a few dedicated people willing to help, whatever volunteers he or staff can locate and manage, and not much else.

    I think the first step in getting the LP to grow is putting people on the LNC who will commit to breaking a sweat, but too many of our current (and past) LNC members seem to think of themselves as Democrats or Republicans in Congress, whose only purpose is to demand others to do what they either don’t have the inclination to do, or don’t have time to do.

    In order to grow, we ALL have to say “What can I do” instead of “Why isn’t someone else doing this”.

    I think most of the LNC mean well, but too many have too many other things on their plates, or think there is some kind of “honor” being on the LNC.

    What this LNC has taught me is that for most things, if we want to get it done, it all falls on staff – seven people.

    I say first send better people in every role – including Chair.

    When I first ran for LNC back in 1989, David Bergland asked me what my personal objectives were in running for LNC. I told him that I want to help the LP to grow and attract such good people that I will be unqualified to serve on the LNC. It is still my objective, but I feel farther away from that objective today than when I first sat on the LNC.

    But if I could pick one plan for growth, it would be the one I have already drawn up, for which I this LNC has already approved, but does not yet have the resources to move beyond the planning stage, which is “You might be a libertarian”. It is a plan built around 15 second video spots that can be shown on tv, or shared on social media, etc. I have committed to being the champion for this project whether I am re-elected or not.

  22. Geoffrey Neale

    Mr. Been There, Done That,

    I would appreciate the courtesy of your name.

    In the past two years I have traveled to MANY state conventions. When combined with my work schedule, I am at home perhaps six days a month.

    During those two years I have taken two vacations. One was to travel to Europe, which I turned into a “goodwill” tour on behalf of the LP, at no expense to the LP (save for about $20 for shipping some books and pins to my house to give away as gestures). The second was a trip to Puerto Rico. where I took time out from vacationing to visit with local libertarians, at NO cost to the LP..

    Are you saying that it’s somehow in the Bylaws that the Chair cannot take a vacation?

    Or that it’s a bad thing that the Chair seeks to use personal time to advance the LP?

    Or that you have problems counting dates on a calendar?

    I have never said that Libertarians cannot get elected in the US. I have said that we are not large enough or prominent enough to get elected in most partisan races, and that would be true. I think we need to run as many candidates as we can, and bolster those campaigns with real attempts to improve involvement at every level. We do not have a large enough base to make a difference, and to delude ourselves is not constructive, because it takes us away from our real problems. I am extremely encouraged by races by Mr. Sarvis and Overby. The local and state affiliates and the campaign teams are making definite strides, but we still have a long way to go.

    By the way, have we ever had a non-partisan elected official that was ever able to leverage that experience into a victory in a partisan race? I’d like to know, because I don’t know of anyone.

  23. Jill Pyeatt

    I have posted a new article for questions for Mr. Neale and Mr. Sarwark. I suggest that everyone move the conversation there.

  24. LP Watcher

    Knedler back on the LNC? The delegates in Las Vegas kicked him to the curb. Maybe it was a mob that did it. But some states gave him zero votes like Texas. Interesting.

  25. Been There, Done That

    I am no longer a member. Names are unimportant. But I still care about the direction of the LP.

    I never said one word about taking vacations. I never said one word about taking time off. I never said one word about the money for the trip. While I realize that some have been speculating and discussing the possibility of monetary impropriety, I have not been one of them. But since you brought it up, is there anything else the convention delegates should know?

    I don’t appreciate personal insults. I have addressed what you have done and said as Chair. Not as Geoff Neale, the man or person. Perhaps an attempt to refrain from typical D/R mudslinging would be more helpful.

    The first couple of sentences in the paragraph above are simply untrue. And you know it. I attended the San Diego County Libertarian Party’s Annual Convention in January. You were unable to attend due to weather affecting your flight. You then spoke to the attendees by speaker phone. I was not the only one who heard it. You said OUT LOUD that you did not think Libertarians could be elected in America. You said you thought that Libertarians could be elected in certain European countries. My issue is that it appears you talk a lot about candidates, about wanting to win races and have an impact, but you have no faith that it could be done. I think everyone has been encouraged by Overby and Sarvis. And yes, the LP does still have a long way to go. But I don’t believe that it could be done without someone who finds the cause of liberty more worthwhile than a building, more than insulting people, and more than enjoying a position in which nothing is accomplished.

    I refuse to be baited into an attempt to assuage your feelings about the LP. We all know, full well, the answer to your question. But it does appear to be an attempt to validate your words about LP candidates in America and solidify a position that has no place in the leadership of a political party.

  26. Geoffrey Neale

    Mr. ____

    I consider saying that I spend more time at European events than US ones to be a flat-out insult. It’s also a flat-out lie.

    I am beginning to think I must have an alternate personality that says things I don’t agree with, but I do remember saying that I think it could be easier to win in Europe, especially the Netherlands, where they have proportional representation.

    Did anyone record that? I’d love to know where I misspoke, because if you heard that, it was not what I believe. If I gave in inaccurate presentation, I humbly apologize.

  27. MoreFreedomLessPolitics

    “Geoffrey Neale June 6, 2014 at 12:31 pm, “I get this kind of attitude all of the time: “We need to be more grassroots” or “We shouldn’t be a top-down organization”. If you want a more “grassroots organization”, I do not know how you go about asking permission from the LNC, or establishing that the LNC has jurisdiction to give permission. Get off your butt and just do it! Don’t ask permission.”

    Then stay out of states that haven’t asked for your help.

    “The LNC has no authority over the states, and should not. Each state should seek its own way, and be wildly successful. Some states do better than others, and the success or lack thereof is not due to the LNC. Can the LNC help? It can, Should it? Yes.”

    Then again, stay out of states that haven’t asked for your help, going behind the backs of the elected leadership to accomplish what the LNC thinks should be done. The government COULD help, too. But should they? No.

  28. Starchild

    Some more thoughts in response to comments above by LP chair Geoff Neale…

    Geoff writes (June 6, 2014 at 12:31 pm), “I get this kind of attitude all of the time: ‘We need to be more grassroots’ or ‘We shouldn’t be a top-down organization’. If you want a more ‘grassroots organization’, I do not know how you go about asking permission from the LNC, or establishing that the LNC has jurisdiction to give permission. Get off your butt and just do it! Don’t ask permission.”

    Right. When I “went ahead and did it” and didn’t ask permission by forwarding the emails from LNC-discuss to another list so that ordinary LP members could read them (thus giving them more of a window into leadership operations and facilitating a more bottom-up party) Geoff, you and others on the LNC gave me grief for it.

    While in that instance I was nevertheless able to follow the advice “Get off your butt and just do it! Don’t ask permission,” there are many circumstances in which that advice is not simply practical, and the things that need to be done in order to make the party more grassroots and bottom-up in its governance require some kind of access that is controlled by those in power.

    For instance, I would have been happy to long ago send out a survey to our members about issues like convention venues, transparency, and so on, but I do not have access to the party’s email list.

    Allowing party members to post blog entries and write comments on our website, LP.org, would also be a positive, bottom-up change for the party, but ordinary LP members do not control access to the website. They have to depend on staff directly, and maybe the LNC in terms of setting policy, to give them that access.

    I have volunteered to do fundraising calls for the national party to raise money for specific budget items (e.g. campus outreach to students), but have been blocked in doing so because (a) we do not have a clear policy on targeted giving because the crowdfunding project has not been moved forward despite the LNC voting for it, and (b) I have not been given access to the party’s donor call list because I refuse to sign an unreasonable blanket non-disclosure statement that would prevent me from disclosing anything and everything I might happen to learn about party secrets (whether it’s stuff that needs to be kept secret or not) while serving as a LNC representative. I’ve said I am happy to sign a limited non-disclosure statement agreeing to treat donor records to which I’m given access as confidential, but that was not good enough for you.

    I cannot direct staff to prioritize working on the crowdfunding initiative we passed — only you can do that as chair. Apparently you have not done it, or at least I have yet to hear about anything happening, despite the question being raised numerous times by myself and other LNC members like Paulie Frankel.

    Geoff Neale further writes (June 6, 2014 at 1:31 pm), “We have a staff of seven. Any one can be replaced at any time, but the budget only supports seven people.”

    That is flat-out incorrect, because how many staffers the budget supports is entirely dependent upon how much each staffer is paid! If we reduced staff salaries — or at least those of the folks being paid the most — we could afford to hire more people.

    If staff salaries weren’t being kept secret, we could have a more open and productive discussion about that.

    If we put headquarters tasks out for competitive bidding or in more of an “open casting call” manner (perhaps via website like http://www.TaskRabbit.com for minor office tasks), we could potentially realize cost savings on an ongoing basis, by getting more routine office stuff done via a voluntary, libertarian process, for less than what we currently pay, and save our scarce resources for things like TV, radio, web and print ads, candidate support, campus outreach, ballot access, etc.

    We could also use the adequate meeting space in our new office for Libertarian National Committee meetings and save money flying staff to meetings, or find other free meeting spaces and save money on meeting rooms and catered food. I’ve been told the average LNC meeting costs $2500. If we hold four LNC meetings a year, that’s $10,000 a year being eaten up by unnecessary administrative overhead on “board meetings” alone!

    As you know Geoff, I’ve tried multiple times during the past two years to cut our wasteful spending on leadership meetings. Maybe one of these days when we get really tight for cash it will be seen as more of a priority and we’ll tighten our belts, and then I predict people will see that we could’ve gotten by just fine never spending that money in the first place.

  29. George Phillies

    Staff salaries are not secret. They are in the FEC reports. There are some complications with not seeing the details of the Social Security, etc.,payments so what you see is after deductions, the take-home pay. However, when the LNC voted to put the Headquarters in or near DC, it implicitly voted that you have to pay the staff relatively well so as to avoid starvation; we do not pay the staff all that well.

    It was my impression from the reports here and elsewhere that the building fragment does not have space that would work for an LNC meeting. Was the a misimpression?

  30. Starchild

    George – You’re more familiar with FEC reports than I am. Can you either post the information here, or provide a link to a page showing our staff salaries? All I know that’s publicly available is the budget which lists the total amount spent on staff, but not the actual breakdown.

    Regarding space for LNC meetings at the office, that is probably the impression you were intended to get, but I don’t believe it reflects reality. The office contains multiple spaces that would work to hold an LNC meeting, in my opinion. The largest space is on the main floor; I understand the current plan is to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars extra to put a wall through the middle of that space, which in my view is just plain silly.

    I believe there is resistance to using that area for LNC meeting space because it’s slated for staff desks and such, but I don’t think moving some furniture around a few times a year or less to set up meeting tables and seating there (in the absence of a wall) would be excessively impractical. Ought to take no more than a couple hours of staff time, max. Alternately, I believe the space in the basement is also large enough for a typical meeting. Admittedly it could get crowded if we had an unusually large number of guests, but certainly not unbearably so. Anyone who’s attended long opera, theater, etc., performances has undoubtedly spent many hours sitting much more tightly packed in.

    If it is important to any individual LNC members to meet in more spacious or luxurious surroundings, they should always be welcome to pay for meeting space out of pocket if they wish, but when we are using our members’ money, we ought to be economizing on overhead and putting it towards what matters — fighting for freedom — rather than spending it to make ourselves more comfortable.

  31. Jill Pyeatt

    That room certainly looks big enough for a meeting with 20-ish people. That’s about the size of the room where my Region meets. We often fit 20 in there, and have sometimes exceeded that number.

  32. paulie

    I don’t think the last meeting I attended in the DC area would have fit in there, or the one before that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *