By Greg Peele, LPF Director At-Large 3
Hi all, time to review party business for the LPF Executive Committee on Sunday, July 15, 2018. Now updated with the final outcomes and review.
The opinions presented here are my own and do not represent the Libertarian Party of Orange County nor the Libertarian Party of Florida.
Adoption of the Agenda
There was some significant discussion related to adoption of the agenda since several motions were received after the five day cutoff.
While I strongly agree that we should strive for consistent enforcement of our rules, as Representative Folsom (the original mover of the five day submission rule) explained, the rules exist to support the Executive Committee make good decisions, not as a tool to deny actual legitimate business. Given that three of the late motions were time sensitive - and refusing to hear them this meeting would have consequences - and the fourth did not actually have to be a motion, I agreed with the motion to suspend the rules to consider all motions filed on time, this time. I would nonetheless not consider that precedent and will continue to vote against late adoption of any non-time-sensitive motions.
I will note more specific information on each motion where relevant.
I also moved to add the special elections for Director At-Large 1 and Region 14 Representative to the end of our new business so that we remained in compliance with the LPF Constitution Article III Section 4(E).
Appointment of Platform Committee - Aye / Passed
Text: Motion to accept the Platform Committee to be made up of the following members: Steven Nekhaila (chair), Dennis Misigoy, Davie Parrish, and Kevin O’neill.
Review: This motion effectively adds Kevin O'Neill as a new platform committee member. Kevin is a solid activist in Hillsborough County, and I like that he brings a different perspective to balance the existing appointees. I look forward to seeing what the Platform Committee comes up with.
563: Motion to Affiliate Duval County - Aye / Passed
Text: I move to affiliate Duval County, Florida. LPF Secretary Brandi Hicks has all documentation.
Analysis: Obviously. Congratulations to DL, Addison, Ben, and the rest of the Duval crew for solving the audit issue.
Review: The Chair used this motion to ask people to hold non-business comments to the end of the meeting. I do appreciate the desire to improve the efficiency of our meetings, and agree that members should limit discussing to actual points for or against a motion rather than personal pontification. I also plan to work with other EC members to propose a standing rule to set time limits on our agenda items to encourage a more focused approach moving forward.
564:Motion to Affiliate Santa Rosa County - Aye / Passed
Text: I move that the LPF accept Santa Rosa as a county affiliate.
Analysis: Obviously. Congratulations to Spenser, Ed, and Julia for setting this up.
Review: Representative Gilmore brought up an objection on the basis of the affiliate not ratifying the LPF Constitution and Bylaws. Having worked with Santa Rosa and Okaloosa on their reaffilitions, it was my own memory that this ratification clause was present. Since this was not brought to our attention before the meeting and thus I did not have time to re-verify my memory in the actual documents, I trusted my own memory and deferred in favor of empowering our affiliates and voted to approve. I did find it strange for other members to abstain rather than oppose the vote if the concern is a potential rules violation. I do expect, should my memory be incorrect and Representative Gilmore's concern be correct, that Representative Garber will resolve the issue at the next possible opportunity.
565: Motion To Reimburse Treasurer for Out of Pocket Expenses - Withdrawn
Text: I move to reimburse the Treasurer for out of pocket expenses incurred by the Treasurer in the carrying out of the normal duties of the office.
Analysis: Assuming the motion is amended to specify the dollar amount and the types of expenses, this should hopefully be simple and routine.
Review: Withdrawn by mover at Treasurer's request.
566: Motion to Provide Process for Stopping Recurring Donations - Postponed to Next Meeting
Text: I move that the LPF Treasurer and Communications Committee develop a process for fully processing stop requests of recurring donations within 5 business days and to temporarily suspend accepting recurring donations until such process is in place and functioning.
Mover's Description: While the LPF clearly desires and prefers recurring donations over one-time donations, we have had recurring problems over a period of years with stopping such donations when the donor requests. It has been stated that the process is complex with many moving parts. However, it is unfair for the LPF to ask donors to give monthly unless, at the same time, we can honestly assure them of their ability to stop such donations at their will. It appears to be fairly normal to take several months for the LPF to process stop requests. As this type problem has continued for more than a year without resolution, it would be dishonest, disrespectful, and counter-productive to continue to request or accept recurring donations until we can do so in good faith. Five business days appears to be a reasonable and normal time-frame for a transaction of this nature to be processed.
Here is a link to an article about Hillary Clinton's never-ending recurring donations for her presidential campaign: www.latimes.com/business/lazarus/la-fi-lazarus-hillary-donations-20161202-story.html. It illustrates how not expeditiously handling recurring donation stoppages can backfire on the recipient.
Analysis: I absolutely agree that we need to honor donor wishes in handling stop requests. However, according to previous Treasurer James Morris, this is already possible to do with the Stripe account. He stated that you just select the donor and delete the credit card attached to their donation. As such, I disagree with a motion that takes a drastic step.
Review: Treasurer Coulter reported just prior to the meeting that he had been able to resolve the issue with the help of the Communications Chair and the previous Treasurer. I hoped this motion would be withdrawn or voted down outright since I felt it was no longer necessary, but I have no issue with postponing it and verifying the resolution next month and so I voted aye on that.
567: Motion to Authorize $50 Social Media Budget per Unaffiliated County - Aye / Passed
Text: I move to authorize Region Representatives to expend up to $50 on social media advertising for each unaffiliated county in their region until May 1, 2019, to be reimbursed by the Treasurer under the following conditions:
- The Region Representative presents a receipt to the Treasurer showing that the Region Representative (or at their written direction, an officer of the party) paid for social media advertisement(s) placed prior to May 1, 2019
- The social media advertisement is placed on a public Libertarian Party of Florida page for an unaffiliated county in the Region Representative's Region, not to exceed $50 per county
- The social media advertisement content promotes party recruiting or public events to recruit party members and organize an affiliate in the targeted county
Analysis: As part of studying the process for organizing new affiliates, I have realized that the party officials tasked with this job - the Region Representatives - lack any resources from the party to do so. After considering other options such as mailers, I decided to propose a social media budget with the Facebook unaffiliated county pages (e.g. "Levy County Libertarians" or "Walton County Libertarians." Social media is a cost effective first approach to reach people - a $10 advertisement targeted wisely can reach 400-800 people that may potentially become Libertarian activists; if even 1% of them respond you may be able to organize an affiliate. Social media ads also have the benefit that they do NOT rely on our CRM to find contacts, which is a huge benefit until we are able to address the CRM issues. I strongly believe we should give our leaders the tools they need to succeed. This is a first step.
Note that we currently have 39 unaffiliated counties, so the maximum liability to the party is $1,950.00.
Review: Director Rose moved to amend this motion to explicitly require prior approval of the Chair or Executive Committee on each such advertised post. While I do appreciate the concern for accountability and brand safety underlying this amendment, I do wish the Director had spoken with me about this concern prior to the meeting - perhaps he may have found my explanation acceptable, or I could update the motion to satisfy his concerns. Seeing as how we already empower Region Representatives to post content on these unaffiliated county social media pages, and how the motion establishes clear guidelines on the acceptable location and content of the post, the Treasurer is already empowered to reject improper reimbursements and to refer back to the Chair or Executive Committee if he is uncertain. While I don't think this amendment would have been an issue if it had passed, I did speak against it because I found it unnecessary - I wish to empower our Treasurer and our Region Representatives to do their jobs with minimal red tape. The amendment failed and the main motion passed.
568: Motion to Cancel Daytona Beach Convention Contract - Aye / Passed
Text: On behalf of the Convention Committee, I move to authorize cancellation of the 2019 convention contract with the Daytona Beach Resort & Conference Center at no cost to the Libertarian Party of Florida, and to authorize the Convention Committee to evaluate proposals for a new convention contract to recommend to the Executive Committee for approval.
Analysis: As with the original motion to approve this contract, I defer strongly to the recommendations of the Convention Committee on convention sites and management. It is my understanding the Convention Committee believes that the current contract is not ideal and in particular, a successful convention will likely exceed the available space (a maximum of 180 people, only slightly larger than the max attendance of Cocoa Beach). The Convention Chair has assured me that the contract can be canceled without any financial cost to the LPF, so I see no reason not to trust the Convention Committee's judgment.
Review: Convention Chair Detwiler, as I expected, made a compelling case of the metrics used to bring forward this recommendation. I am sensitive to concerns and frustrations that members of the Volusia affiliate may have in this motion. I try (not always successfully) to make decisions based on metrics, evidence, and ROI, and I also strongly believe in empowering our committees to successfully conduct their assigned tasks. At the end of the day, I have to make the decision based on the entire LPF, and I believe that the Convention Committee presented a substantive justification for canceling the contract that I had no reason to oppose.
During the LP Orange meeting, Convention Chair Detwiler showed me the detailed diagrams, plans, and reviews and assessments of multiple convention locations to show how meticulously the Convention Committee is taking the 2019 Convention. While this did not occur in time to influence my vote, it reinforced my decision to trust the Convention Committee
569: Motion to Approve Marc Golob Fundraising Contract - Aye / Passed
Text: I move to approve the fundraising contract with Martin D. "Marc" Golob as amended and signed on 5/26/2018.
Analysis: Now that the EC has had the chance to review the final amended contract, there's no reason to dilly dally on this.
Review: Passed without notable discussion.
570: Motion to Reimburse Region Representatives for Organizational Meetings in Unaffiliated Counties - Aye / Passed
Text: I move to authorize Region Representatives to expend up to $50 on necessary expenses, other than social media advertising, for each unaffiliated county for an organizing meeting in their region until May 1, 2019, to be reimbursed by the Treasurer under the following conditions:
The Region Representative presents a receipt to the Treasurer showing that the Region Representative (or at their written direction, an officer of the party) paid for mailings (if any) to LPF voters in the unaffiliated county sent prior to May 1, 2019.
Notice of any meeting is placed on a public Libertarian Party of Florida page for an unaffiliated county in the Region Representative's Region, and placed on the LPF calendar.
The Region Representative presents a receipt to the Treasurer showing that the Region Representative (or at their written direction, an officer of the party) paid for expense(s) directly relating to holding an affiliate organizational meeting in the targeted county.
Analysis: This motion is similar to the previous one, but instead authorizes mailers and actual meeting costs such as reserving the event venue. I tentatively agree with this idea as well. We can't expect the Region Representatives to be successful if they are expected to pay out-of-pocket for official party business. We want to incentive Region Representatives to do the job mandated to them in the Constitution. I do think that $50 is probably not sufficient for mailers except in the smallest counties when carefully targeted, but I see no reason to rule out using such an approach.
Note that we currently have 39 unaffiliated counties, so the maximum liability to the party is $1,950.00.
Review: There was some opposition to this motion in terms of how loosely defined "meeting expenses" are. I am sympathetic to that concern and might have preferred to see a more specific description, but I do remind folks that the Treasurer has approval authority on all party expenses, and anything that he disagrees with as not being in scope can be appealed to the Executive Committee. I believe in empowering our Region Representatives to actually do their job and feel that this motion is a very limited expenditure that has a potentially good ROI. To date, we have given almost no support to Region Representatives, and our results largely reflect that. I want to see more action in the unaffiliated counties.
571: Motion to Authorize $2,000 for Bill Weld Fundraising Dinner - Aye / Passed
Text: A Motion to authorize a budget of up to $2,000 and the approval to organize a fundraising dinner with Bill Weld on the weekend of Aug 24-26 for the purpose of attracting and entertaining large donors and major volunteers in the state.
Mover's Description: Through meetings and interactions with National members at the LPCon in New Orleans we (the LPF) were approached with the possible opportunity for a fundraising opportunity in Miami on the weekend of Aug 24-26. Bill Weld will be attending the US Cannabis Convention & Expo and has potential availability to speak at an event if hosted and planned by the LPF. Likewise national campaign fundraisers and campaign workers will also be in attendance and would potentially be interested in helping work the event and donors to make allies in Florida for the upcoming 2020 Presidential race.
Analysis: I will set aside my own personal misgivings about Governor Weld for this motion. Whatever his other flaws may be, he is reputed to be an excellent fundraiser, and is certainly a high-profile member of the Libertarian Party likely to appeal to large donors, especially in the setting of a convention closely linked to the Libertarian Party's mission. Pending more details on the cost allocation and justification, I believe this could be a wise investment. The event will likely pay for itself, and even if not, the exposure and credibility it gives the LPF in the media and elsewhere may well be worth the price of admission. I do not see any reason to snub Governor Weld on this offer.
Review: This motion is a time-sensitive opportunity, so I voted against removing it from the agenda despite its late submission. I note that a number of people who are not exactly fans of Governor Weld nonetheless endorsed this as an obvious fundraising opportunity. The context and potential ROI make this an obvious aye in my case.
572: Motion to Authorize $5,000 to Clean Up CRM Database - Withdrawn by Mover
Text: A Motion to contract an individual or company for up to $5,000 to clean, update, correlate, and organize the state wide voter, membership, donor, and volunteer data from multiple sources as a first step to improving our database and outreach capabilities.
Mover's Description: This motion would authorize the expenditure of up to $5000 to an individual or company contracted to improve the data we have in our database. Currently we only track LPF data, and of that data only with in the last 2-3 years have we collected information like voter ID and matched it with our contacts. This process would take lists from presidential campaigns (3,000 Contacts), the National Database (est 15,000 contacts), the LPF Database (potentially 30,000 Contacts), and participating local affiliates data, and merge them together with voter information like Voter ID, Demographics, and Voting Frequency to make future efforts of outreach and fundraising easier at both the state and affiliate level.
PS: If we are to find a cheaper (but still effective) solution outside of Nation Builder, it is imperative that we have clean and up to date data in order to test the effectiveness of any system. This first step potentially will make it so that we can find an interim solution to our data collection and management needs until a more robust system can be found and purchased through fundraising efforts.
Analysis: While I like the premise and mostly agree with the description, discussing this further with Membership Chair Kunz left me concerned about the lack of details in this proposal. I would be more comfortable voting on an actual contract or at least more structured guidance to the Membership Committee.I would like to see something along these lines brought back to the EC next month.
573: Motion to Authorize $1,000 for August In-Person EC Meeting - Nay / Failed
Text: A Motion to authorize up to $1,000 for meeting space, food/beverage, and AV needs to facilitate the LPF August in person Executive Committee Meeting in Orlando, FL.
Mover's Description: On behalf of the LPF EC, an adequate meeting space with the ability to host up to 50 people needs to be located and secured for the August meeting. This motion would authorize and operating and planning budget in order to facilitate meeting needs such as AV set up (including microphones, video streaming for EC members, conference call capabilities, and projectors). Typical spaces at smaller hotels or other venues cost on average $75-200, food catering (finger foods, sandwiches, etc) typically cost up to $400, and potential AV equipment (not already owned by the EC) could cost up to $400 for rental and setup. This motion would authorize spending and the ability to secure vendors.
Analysis: To me, $1,000 seems downright ostentatious for an LPF EC meeting, particularly since the in-person meeting was decided by the Chair without EC input in the first place. If that is the only purpose for this meeting, then I see it as effectively lighting donor funds on fire - what is the return on investment? I see none.
However, it is my understanding that we own appropriate A/V equipment due to a fairly significant expenditure on such things for the LPF Convention. That would already knock off $400. I also imagine most of the EC doesn't feel the need for $400 in catering - I'm just as happy having Jimmy John's delivered or something similarly cheap that I'm fine with paying out of pocket. That would leave $75-$200 for renting the venue space, which is more reasonable.
Finally, my criticism and vote are based on assuming this expense is solely for hosting the LPF EC business meeting. If Chair Miralles has additional goals for this meeting, such as fundraising with large donors, media attention, candidate promotion and exposure, and so on, that may warrant a larger expenditure to achieve those goals. I am open to reconsidering based on any of these justifications, if applicable.
Review: I voted to consider this motion submitted on time because it was time sensitive and refusing to hear it was in effect a "nay" vote anyways. No justification other than conducting an in-person EC meeting was provided, so I had to vote against on the justification given. I later learned that a number of individuals did have additional goals of this meeting which may have justified expenses, but I can only vote based on the case that was actually presented, not on what I hope might be true.
574: Motion for 15 Minutes of Discussion on an Executive Director Position - Postponed to Next Meeting
Text: A Motion to allow up to 15 minutes of discussion on the Necessity of hiring a full-time Executive Director for the LPF, and the requirements and tasks of such a position.
Mover's Description: The position of Executive Director of an organization is an imperative one to drive growth in membership, volunteering, fundraising, and outreach. The positions of Executive Director is responsible for managing and maintaining the functionality of the organization and the relationships necessary for other members of the party to be successful in their duties. This position is not one of decision making, but rather drives the vision and opinions of the Party and Executive Committee. Typically, states that have hired Executive Directors have seen major growth in membership and large donations within the first 3 months. Normally, the day to day tasks of an ED include overseeing proper maintenance of the digital infrastructure, hosting meetings and events with major new donors and workers, overseeing the logistics of planning and coordination of events and tasks that don’t directly fall under a committee’s preview. Plus having a Full-Time Employee means that the LPF can take on interns (which means free work, for college credits by skilled and eager students) which will help us cover needed gaps like PR, IT, Data work, volunteer training, marketing, and someone will be able to answer phones!
Analysis: Since this is just discussion, and I believe it as a reasonable item to discuss, I have no issue approving said discussion. I do see the potential value in an Executive Director position to handle operational details outside of a decision making role. The LNC, and many other organizations, use such an Executive Director position as described. I will note, however, that I would not like to make such a large decision without the blessing of the full delegation - to establish the Executive Director position as a Constitutional or Bylaws position explicitly approved by the full LPF delegation at the next Convention.
Review: Strictly speaking, open discussion doesn't even have to be a motion. Let's talk again next time. I voted to consider this on time because the Chair could have unilaterally done this anyways.
575: Motion to allow EC to approve Legislative Action Committee reports on FL Constitutional Amendments - Aye / Passed as Amended
Text:. I move to approve the Legislative Action Committee reports on Florida Constitutional Amendments 1-10, appearing on the November, 2018 ballot.
Approval will be confirmed in an email vote to conclude July 25, giving 10 15 days following the meeting for the EC to review and write minority reports if any so desire.
Analysis: The report speaks for itself. I commend the Legislative Action Committee for conducting a thorough review of, as they called it, the "travesty' on our ballot in November. I agree with their assessments and support approving the report.
Review: Representative GIlmore moved to postpone the motion and divide it into a separate motion for each amendment. I voted against this since I did fully read the report before the meeting and explicitly agreed with the recommendations provided. Furthermore, I will note that delays on taking action from committee requests tends to be very demoralizing to the committees actually doing the work. The actual motion was amended by Representative Ramsey based on Representative Braden's legitimate concern about a conflict with the standing rules that requires 15 days for email votes. I agreed with the amendment.
I will also note that I reviewed this report with LP Orange Platform Chair Wayne Jackman, who also endorsed the recommendations in the report, but this occurred after the meeting and thus did not influence my vote.
Director At-Large 1 - Aye to Steven Nekhaila / Steven Nekhaila elected
Nominees: Steven Nekhaila (Monroe), Lucy Lietsch (Miami-Dade)
Review: Both candidates are excellent choices, and it's refreshing to conduct an election in which we literally can't lose. Per the Constitution, the interim appointee Steven Nekhaila received the first approval vote, and given that I strongly respect Steven and rely on his for advice and guidance frequently, I am glad to confirm my approval for him. However, I will note that had the vote on Steven failed, I would have also voted in favor of Lucy Lietsch as a dedicated and passionate activist for the party who is entirely qualified - I would be happy to see her run for a similar position in the future.
Region 14 Representative - Aye to Martha Bueno / Martha Bueno elected
Nominees: Martha Bueno (Miami-Dade)
Review: Martha is the Vice-Chair of the Miami-Dade affiliate and a tireless activist for the party. I may not always agree with her candidate preferences, but I was proud to cast a vote to approve her.