The Maine Republican Party has been working hard to outdo the disaster that was the Charlie Webster reign. The problems are mounting, between Penobscotgate and the budget mess. The party itself, while publicly selling itself as the standard bearer of law and order, is operating internally like a Democratically-controlled U.S. Senate.
The problems continue though. The Maine Republican Party is currently operating in the absence of a budget, which is a clear violation of the bylaws.
Article VIII, Section 3(b) of the Maine Republican bylaws state:
“The Budget Committee shall recommend a two-year budget, to cover basic operations, to be presented to the State Committee for approval no later than March 31st of the year following a general election. The budget shall be reviewed with the State Committee quarterly. All basic operational expenses shall continue to be paid until a budget is approved.”
We are well into May now, over a month past the deadline, and nothing has been offered to the State Committee. What about March 31st does the Budget Committee not understand? And why is Chairman Cebra allowing this clear violation to stand? It does not take a mathematician to understand that this is slightly overdue. Perhaps Executive Director Jason Savage should hire one.
Article V, Section 5(c) states:
“The Executive Director shall hire all other paid personnel with the prior advice and consent of the Chairman. They shall be compensated based on the budget adopted by the State Committee.”
If the rules are being followed, than the Executive Director is hiring people with the consent of the Chairman. The problem is that the last sentence, the requirement that compensation be based on a budget adopted by the State Committee, is not being followed. Thus, it would appear that both the Executive Director and the Chairman are operating in clear violation of the rules.
Unless more rules are being broken.
When these issues were discussed on popular social networking website Twitter, Sagadahoc County Republican Chairman Kyle Rogers entered attack mode with some very interesting points.
First, it began with public attacks in response to tweets about this topic:
When questions were repeatedly asked of Chairman Rogers, he was asked if I was wrong about the above points. He would then state I was wrong, and when asked about which part, the reply was:
After the name-calling and low blows ceased, Chairman Rogers echoed a claim offered to the State Committee: the previous budget remains in effect until the next one is passed. The only problem is, if this were true, the fact still remains a new one is required by the bylaws no later than March 31st. Given it is passed this date, the Maine Republican Party is now operating in violation of their own bylaws.
In addition to taking swipes at me for asking honest questions, Chairman Rogers also took aim at the State Committee:
Here is the problem: the State Committee votes on the budget, but they cannot vote on the budget if it has not been presented to them. This is the responsibility of the Budget Committee and committee chairman Michael Coleman. Thus, perhaps what Chairman Rogers meant to say was that Coleman needs to actually get some work done.
The issue presents another crisis within the Maine Republican Party and the hypocrisy within leadership. The leadership was confronted at the May State Committee Meeting about this issue and gained nothing.
Budget Committee chairman Michael Coleman, also an Old Orchard Beach Town Councilor, had no budget in hand. The deadline remains passed. The Treasurer’s report was a mere bank statement, reflecting a negative balance.
Keeping in mind that the bank account is in the red, a budget doesn’t exist, and nobody at the top wants to talk, here are some interesting facts:
From the Maine Campaign Finance Q1 report:
*Executive Director Jason Savage has been paid for “consulting”, on two occasions. Both on February 26 and March 7, he was paid $1,200.
*Chairman Rich Cebra was paid $2,000 for “consulting” on February 22. He has also been paid salary on numerous occasions. Cebra was paid salary $1,720 on March 15th and 22nd.
The interesting thing about the Maine Republican Party chairman collecting a salary, is it’s unclear whether or not he is doing so with compliance to the bylaws.
Article V, Section 5(c) of the Maine Republican bylaws state:
The Treasurer and State Chairman may be paid such salary as the Executive Committee approves, and shall be the only officers of the State Committee with salary. Those members appointed to the Executive Committee by the Chairman shall not have a vote with respect to the salary for the Chairman.
When asked about the matter repeatedly, the refusal to answer continued. Thus the points were reiterated and Chairman Rogers returned for another series of attacks:
The point was then clarified that when he declared these points above about the bylaws, the bank account, and salaries were wrong, the opposite was implied.
Chairman Rogers returned with:
Given all the public drama, and all the public attacks ending with how these legitimate points are merely “wild accusations”, one last question stood: Is this the official position of the Sagadahoc County Republican Chairman?
Kyle Rogers replied:
Thus, it is the official position of the Executive Committee representative of the First Congressional District, that:
*The claim that the budget does not exist is false, but the previous budget is extended until the new one is passed. The new budget is expected by the end of June. The bylaw which sets a March 31st deadline is irrelevant.
*The bank account figures given at the May State Committee meeting that showed the Maine Republican Party in the red is false. The Treasurer is a liar, implying he lacks dignity in his position.
*The Executive Committee voted to approve Chairman Rich Cebra’s salary and did so without a budget present.
The bylaws violations and the bizarre conduct of Kyle Rogers easily suggest this is more than innocent error on the part of the Maine Republican Party. After all, Chairman Cebra and Executive Director Savage would not clarify at the State Committee meeting who is on payroll and how much they are receiving. Why? Doesn’t their own State Committee have a right to know?
This issue should be of great concern to honest Maine Republicans who want a party of integrity. Questions should be asked, phone calls should be made to Maine Republican HQ. What is going on with the party operations? Why is the party in the red when a budget is over a month overdue?