Florida GOPers In Civil War

December 22, 2009 1:46 p.m.

The Florida Republican Party organization is now in the midst of a civil war, with the latest shoe to drop being that embattled party chairman Jim Greer has called for a special executive committee meeting, in response to a request that he be ousted as chairman — but at the same time, he’s telling his enemies that the motion itself isn’t allowed under the party rules.

Greer, an ally of moderate Gov. Charlie Crist, has come under fire by intra-party critics who accuse him of mismanaging the state GOP’s finances. For his part, Greer is putting the blame for this controversy on allies of former state House Speaker Marco Rubio, the more conservative challenger against Crist in the Senate primary. And Greer has accused these critics of “slander,” “libel,” and even “treason” against the Republican Party!

Now Greer has sent out his new letter (available after the jump) calling the meeting, but declaring its raison d’etre of ousting him to be against the party’s rules. “Chairman Greer is agreeing to call the special meeting in conjunction with the already-scheduled annual meeting to discuss a variety of issues the board has expressed interest in discussing — one of which is to rescind his election as Chairman,” Florida GOP press secretary Katie Gordon Betta explained to us. “By this letter, the Chairman is pro-actively informing the members that one of their intended motions is not permitted under party rules, in order to avoid confusion at the meeting in January.”

Yes, this letter should probably help to avoid confusion, and will clear a lot of things up. But that’s not all. Crist has also lost the support of some key GOP Congressmen in his Senate bid — but nobody is exactly sure why.Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Lincoln Diaz-Balart, who are leading figures in the Cuban-American GOP political community, have rescinded their endorsements of Crist. Lincoln Diaz-Balart wouldn’t elaborate on the reason, except to give this cryptic comment: “We take our endorsements seriously, but the governor knows why we withdrew and he left us with no alternative.”

The Miami Herald speculates that this might have happened because Crist snubbed the Diaz-Balarts in their attempt to have a friend of Lincoln’s son appointed as a judge, instead picking a different candidate. Could something this picayune have led to a retraction of a Senate campaign endorsement?

Meanwhile, Greer’s view of parliamentary procedure isn’t actually shared by his detractors. Party vice-chairman Allen Cox, who is part of the anti-Greer movement, told the Orlando Sentinel: “This is the poorest example of constitutional and Robert’s Rules logic I have ever seen. It’s going to be challenged just as quickly as we can have our legal counsel develop a response.”

Here’s Greer’s letter:

December 22, 2009

Dear Committee Members:

Pursuant to Article IX, Section 2 of the Constitution of the State Republican Executive Committee of Florida, and at the written request of a sufficient number of State Committee members, I am calling a special meeting of the State Executive Committee. The special meeting will be held in conjunction with the previously scheduled annual meeting of the State Executive Committee on January 9, 2010 at 9:00 a.m., at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando, Florida.

The stated purpose of the special meeting as set forth in the request is “to submit to the State Committee members for vote by secret ballot to: Rescind the January, 2009, election of the Chairman, Jim Greer, for charges and cause as stated [in the request].” The RPOF Constitution and Rules do not permit consideration of a motion to rescind the election of an officer.

Article IV, section 3 of the RPOF Constitution provides in relevant part that “[a]ll officers of the State Committee and Congressional District Chairmen shall be elected to a term of two (2) years.” Article XI of the RPOF Constitution provides that “[t]he rules contained in Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the State Committee in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with this Constitution of the State Committee.” Chapter XX, section 61 of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised provides in relevant part that if “the bylaws provide that officers shall serve only a fixed term, such as “for two years,” [as opposed to “two years or until their successors are elected”] . . . an officer can be deposed from office only by following the procedures for dealing with offenses by members outside a meeting.”

Therefore, because the RPOF Constitution specifies fixed two year terms, rather than two years “or until their successors are elected,” the
procedures for dealing with offenses by members outside a meeting as set forth in Rule 22 of the RPOF Rules of Procedure govern such disciplinary matters. Rule 22 does not provide for consideration of the motion described in the request for special meeting.

For these reasons, the stated purpose of the requested special meeting is not permitted under the RPOF Constitution and Rules.


James A. Greer

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