In the aftermath of Penobscotgate, the budget mess, and the RNC proxy controversy, the movement to remove Rich Cebra as Maine Republican Chairman has begun. Kathleen Caso, a Washington County Republican who has served multiple positions for the party and has run for State Senate, sent a letter to the State Committee calling for Chairman Cebra’s removal.
Maine Republican State Committee Members:
My name is Kathleen Caso. I am a member of the Washington County Republican Committee via the city of Calais. I am a past County Secretary, Senate Candidate, Platform committee member and presently the membership Committee chair and have been selected on several occasions as a State Committee Proxy for various members. It is that position and the experiences which I have had in the Maine GOP that I am writing to you today.
I truly believed that the tumultuous years of the Webster regime had come to an end. This of course is simply my opinion. At the end of Webster’s term there were calls for Unity being made, however a dubious election was held and a “behind the scenes chess game” was still being played at the expense of the integrity of the committee. I believe Unity is like respect. It must be earned and that can only happen in an open, honest relationship. This, in my opinion, does not exist in the Maine GOP Committee today as I have witnessed in my attendance at meetings over the past year.
· The entire 2012 Maine convention was under the authority of Chairman Webster
· Delegates were chastised for supporting a different Republican candidate than the “Straw Poll” selection.
· Jan Staples initiated a legal contest against the Maine 2012 convention
· Jan Staples is not elected to any significant role for the national convention
· The national Chairman (or executive committee) would not seat the Maine delegation which was duly elected to attend the National Convention
· Jan Staples is made Assistant Secretary of the National convention.
· September state meeting: Jan Staples is censured by the state committee for bringing forward the challenge of the duly elected delegation.
· Chairman Cebra campaigned on Unity but there is negligible evidence of this to date
· People who were incompetent at the state convention are being rewarded with positions on the state committee such as Jan Love as Chair of the Credentials Committee is now Chair of the Finance Committee.
· The Chairman’s responsibility is to lead but at the direction of the state committee and have a working knowledge of standing committees. As evident at May’s meeting this is not the case with the important duty of the Budget Committee. Mr. Coleman, Budget Chair, has indicated that he no longer has the time to devote to his responsibilities. There was no comment by Chairman Cebra. Where is the leadership?
· A budget has not materialized (according to the rules it was due in March) and committee members have not been solicited to attend any meetings except Director Savage. Where is Chairman Cebra?
· Chairman Cebra did not advise the committeeman or woman that Jan Staples (who was a guest of another state) was going to be his proxy. The RNC rules state that a member can also be a proxy. Therefore Mark Willis or Ashley Ryan could have been his proxy as well as Eric Brakey and Bryan Daugherty who were also guest attendees. These attendees were well aware of the state committee’s intentions for voting.
· Chairman Cebra chose a censured nonmember of the state committee to represent Maine with “her opinion” as stated by Chairman Cebra at the May State Committee meeting. Her “opinion” was not the majority vote to pass Committeeman Willis’ resolution. Again the voice of the majority is blatantly disregarded.
· Chairman Cebra has consistently dodged questions by members, and rudely refuses to make eye contact with those who address him. This is not the face of a leader.
· Chairman Cebra refused to consult with the executive committee concerning the Penobscot voting irregularities when it was brought to his attention. Instead, he consulted a lawyer. There is discontent in all quarters.
While the leadership is dysfunctional, committee members are being pressured to raise funds for upcoming elections. How can this be accomplished without a budget? How can the leadership gain the trust of members when you can’t look them in the eye and all you show is complete disdain for the majority of the people you want to work for you?
Simple questions are not being answered which only brings up more questions. I cannot get the picture out of my mind when Chairman Cebra looked down at his podium when he said that Jan Staples, a woman who was censured by the Maine GOP, was voting as his proxy and voting her “opinion”. Sorry Mr. Cebra but this is unacceptable.
It is time that you step aside as Chairman. In the absence of compliance, I urge State Committee Members to involuntarily remove Mr. Cebra from office immediately.
Kathleen M. Caso
Washington County Committee Member
Caso shows leadership in stepping forward to call for the Chairman’s removal. In the absence of his resignation, which is unlikely, the State Committee should replace him with someone capable of properly leading.
It’s time for the Maine Republican Party to reevaluate their leadership. If the State Committee fails to act, it’s time for every individual enrolled in the party to give serious thought into who it is they’re trusting to represent them. As Chairman, Rich Cebra is destroying the party worse than any Democrat could ever dream. Going into a critical election cycle in 2014 with Governor Paul LePage up for reelection, a self-destructive force cannot be leading the operation.
Step down Chairman Cebra. The movement has begun.