Updated Editorial: Recently 29 of 280 members of the Tulsa Republican County Committee voted against the Vision2 infrastructure proposal and passed a censure resolution against two Tulsa County elected Republican officials. That was an illegal vote according to the rules of the Party. As a result and as a member of that Committee, I call for the resignation or forced removal of Tulsa County Republican Chairman J.B. Alexander and Vice Chairman Mike McCutchin. This article details the reasons for that call.
Tulsa County has apparently had irreconcilable differences between two camps of Republicans for several years. All Republicans are conservative as Ronald Reagan defined it, but “The Faction” that sets itself aggressively apart by anger is led by lies, distortions, and increasingly personal attacks on other Republicans. They are often referenced as the John Birch Society, Ron Paul folk, angry Libertarians, the 9.12 group and a few of the several T-Party groups.
Left or Right it matters not. Sane or insane matters greatly. Ambition addicts will destroy regardless and civility doesn’t work with the uncivilized. Thus those who have long been silent must rise at this time within the Tulsa County Republican Party.
Power in the Republican Party resides with the people – specifically those elected in their neighborhoods as delegates who then elect a County Chairman and Vice Chairman. The full body of precinct chairs and vice chairs is called the County Committee which includes elected officials.
A County Committee meeting was called for Saturday August 18. At that meeting a vote was taken to oppose Vision2 and to censure Republican Tulsa County Commissioners John Smaligo and Fred Perry for allowing Vision2 to be placed on the November ballot.
Notice of that meeting was properly provided, but the agenda was incomplete and inaccurate with no mention of the Vision2 or censure items – clearly matters of significance which County Chairman J.B. Alexander and Vice Chair Mike McCutchin knew in advance would be topics of discussion.
On Wednesday August 15, Alexander sent notice by email to Commissioners Smaligo and Perry that Vision2 would be discussed. However, Alexander failed to include that information in email sent to the membership as late as Friday August 17. This was a deliberate act to skew the committee vote by limiting participation to a secretly informed minority opposed to the Vision2 proposal.
Much earlier notices said there would be GOP Data Center training, but the Friday email said it had been cancelled. This reduced the reason to attend unless some had advance knowledge of the contentious questions that others did not. Leadership must have known and supported this deceit, not just from Alexander’s email to the candidates, but because copies of two different resolutions against Vision2 were printed and distributed as Committee members arrived.
Limiting the legitimate right of participation is a violation of State Republican Party Rule 3, Section A: “Such right shall be sacred and inviolate, and the willful disregard or abridgement of such right by an officer or member of any committee of the Party shall be deemed sufficient cause for the removal of such officer or committee member.”
There are 280 Precinct Chairman and Vice Chairman in Tulsa County (www.tulsagop.org, file 2011-2013 Precinct Leadership List). All are members of the County Committee with the additional membership of all elected County Republican Officials. Alexander, on multiple public occasions, now admits there were less than 80 members present which does not constitute a quorum. Therefore both the vote in opposition to Vision2 and the censure vote at that meeting are illegal.
Rule 19, Section B: A majority of those named to any Committee or Delegation shall constitute a quorum … Once a quorum is established, a quorum shall be deemed to be present until fewer than two thirds (2/3) of the original quorum remain.
Witnesses report that by the time the votes were taken there were only 29 people voting out of 80 attending at the beginning and a total of over 280 members of the Committee. Three voted against censure.
Apparently written minutes were not kept and there is no copy of the censure motion.
Rule 19, Section D: Said minutes shall be available for review by any registered Republican voter upon request to the County, Congressional District or State Chairman within 10 days of the request.
The following from a recorded interview August 21, 2012 with J.B. Alexander:
Arnett: “JB, I have not found a copy of the censure resolution; where is that document?”
Alexander: “We didn’t produce one. Michael D. Bates wrote the censure resolution. Sometimes when he writes up stuff, he writes like you do as a journalist and goes on and on about things. Getting the point across that they voted for a censure was enough. I don’t even have a copy of what Bates read out loud at the meeting.”
Arnett: “You were aware that Vision2 would be discussed. You notified Commissioner Perry and Smaligo that Vision2 would be discussed, but I have found no notice to the Committee that Vision2 was on the agenda.”
Alexander: “I believe you are correct.”
Arnett: “So on Wednesday, you knew it would be a topic and notified the Commissioners, but as late as Friday (in an email of the agenda) before the Saturday meeting you did not notify the Committee that was to vote on this issue? Why did you not notify the Committee?”
Alexander: “I just didn’t think about to tell you the truth. My concern was to make sure the Commissioners were informed because I knew that they had pushed [Vision2] forward and I wanted to make them aware of [the vote].
Arnett: “But you are responsible to the body of the Committee to inform them of the agenda.”
Alexander: “I don’t believe I am. There is nothing in writing that says I am. There is no rule that says I have to.”
Arnett: “JB, when will another meeting of the full Committee take place?”
Alexander: “There is not one scheduled right now. I think you will see one before the election in November … You have been to these over the years and as hot as this issue is I’m thinking we are going to have to find a venue that is much larger. You are going to have a much larger turnout with media and a lot more people. We are looking for a place with greater seating. We are that far along in discussions so it is likely it’s going to happen. We just don’t have a date on it yet. We have thought about having an open public forum then a Committee meeting afterwards … so let me ask you what you think.”
Arnett: “In my opinion, this is not a public thing; this is a County Committee thing. As a member of this Committee, I am deeply troubled that I was not notified [Vision2] was on the agenda. I believe that is a major mistake in leadership and request that an additional item be added to the agenda that would ask for you to resign as a result of this leadership failure.”
Alexander: “Well, you and I both know that is not going to happen.”
Arnett: “I am, as a member of the Committee, calling for your resignation. I am asking for an item to be placed on the agenda to discuss your leadership and, if you do not resign prior to that meeting, that you be removed from office.”
Alexander: “You have every right to bring that up at the next Committee meeting.”
Arnett: “I have every right to bring it up before then and ask people to consider your leadership and I expect it to be on the agenda. Understand that I am going to publicly call for your resignation as a result of incompetence and failure to notify the members of what was on the agenda. That was an insider push to stack the group and predetermine an outcome… ”
Rule 19, Section G: Any County Chairman or Vice Chairman, or any member of the State Committee, or any Congressional District Committee, may be removed at any time for cause by a majority vote of the entire existing membership of the County Committee of their County. Causes for removal shall include but not be limited to the following: (1) Misappropriation of funds under the rules of the Republican Party; (2) Failure to follow the rules of the Oklahoma Republican Party; (3) Conviction of a felony; and (4) Publicly supporting or endorsing an opponent of candidates of the Republican Party.
Tulsa County Republican Party Chairman J.B. Alexander and Vice Chairman Mike McCutchin are obviously guilty of multiple failures to follow the rules, spirit and intent of the Oklahoma Republican Party. Alexander’s subsequent media releases and interviews promoted these illegal actions thus misrepresenting and embarrassing the party.
Both must be removed from office immediately.
Coverage of this issue provided by the daily newspaper include: 1) 8/20/2012 GOP committee censures county commissioners over Vision2 vote, 2.) 8/21/2012 Precinct chairman calls on county GOP leader to resign, 3.) 8/21/2012 County GOP votes to censure 2 officials, 4.) 8/22/2012 Editorial: GOP panel ‘censures’ fellow officials kangaroo-court style, 5.) 8/22/2012 GOP lawmaker slams Tulsa County Republican Party censure vote, 6.) 8/26/2012 Political Report, Wayne Greene: Oklahoma’s odd bird: the Republican Party.
Because both charged currently control the County Republican Headquarters and Party communication lists and apparatus, I am requesting that officials from the First Congressional District Committee convene and conduct the next Tulsa County Republican Committee Meeting with State Republican Party Officials present to monitor the proceedings.
It is time to be responsible and address the lack of competency and honesty in the leadership of the Tulsa County Republican Party in this critical election year.