The infighting at the Broward Republican Party continues.
On Monday, party members voted overwhelmingly, 92-32, to block a move to hold a future vote on whether to remove party Secretary Cara Pavalock.
Over the summer, Pavalock committed what some party members regarded as an egregious offense: a written statement supporting Republicans who publicly said they favor same-sex marriage.
The controversy and the debate Monday night was described by Republican committeewoman Karin Hoffman of Lighthouse Point as something that ought to be featured on the Comedy Central cable network.
Previous coverage below and in articles in the right-hand column.
When the party considered, and rejected, the idea of a vote on removing Pavalock, party Chairman Tom Truex explained that the board of the local party – the Broward Republican Executive Committee, known to insiders as BREC – didn’t consider it official business and deemed it without merit. For that reason, he said, the party didn’t act on its own to schedule a vote on Pavalock’s removal.
“Your BREC board does not support or endorse this, and in fact does not think it has merit,” Truex said Monday night.
Now, in an “open letter” emailed Wednesday night, the party’s vice chairwoman, Christine A. Butler, said she wanted to “clarify statements made by Chairman Truex.”
While she said her “intent is to set the record straight and not to undermine the Chairman’s authority,” Pavalock said what Truex told the membership what he said Monday night wasn’t accurate. She said there wasn’t “a formal determination or consensus of the Board” on the move and that she didn’t agree with the idea that the attempt for a vote on Pavalock wasn’t official BREC business as Truex had stated.
Pavalock’s full letter:
October 30, 2013
Dear Members of BREC:
I feel it is incumbent upon me to clarify statements made by Chairman Truex at Monday’s BREC meeting that were represented to be the consensus of the entire Executive Board, with respect to BREC member Ed Bender’s Motion to remove BREC Secretary Cara Pavalock from office.
My intent is to set the record straight and not to undermine the Chairman’s authority or to support or oppose the Motion at issue. Nor do I speak for anyone else on the Board. Along with every officer on the BREC Executive Board, I serve at the pleasure of the BREC membership. Integrity and good governance demand that I clarify certain representations and actions attributable to me as an officer of the Board.
It was stated to the BREC members on Monday night that the Board, upon advice of Counsel, deemed Mr. Bender’s Motion as not amounting to “official BREC business” and therefore required a vote of the BREC membership to use the BREC member list to provide notice, in order to bring Mr. Bender’s Motion in a subsequent BREC meeting. After considerable debate, that motion was defeated.
To the best of my knowledge and recollection, as Vice Chairman and a member of the Executive Board of BREC, I do not recall a formal determination or consensus of the Board on Mr. Bender’s Motion prior to Monday’s meeting. I did not concur with any “non-official BREC business” determination, and do not believe that the motion actually voted upon was a valid or appropriate motion or response to Mr. Bender’s Motion.
At the time of the BREC meeting, I had no knowledge of the status of Mr. Bender’s Motion, had not been provided a copy thereof prior to the meeting, and did not know whether the Motion was on the Agenda for the meeting, as none had been made available to me prior to the meeting. As the debate proceeded Monday night, I advised Chairman Truex that I did not agree with the position being advocated, but was overruled. Rather than openly confront the Chairman from the dais, I opted to review the facts and conduct my own research after the meeting.
The Board had previously agreed to seek an independent review of Mr. Bender’s Motion from BREC Counsel Peter Mavrick. However, the Board did not convene again prior to the BREC meeting to review or discuss Counsel’s findings and recommendation regarding the motion. I was not advised of Counsel’s recommendation with respect to Mr. Bender’s Motion or the Chairman’s decision prior to Monday’s BREC meeting. In any event, Counsel’s advice is advisory, and it is the Board’s responsibility to consider such advice and collectively make a final determination.
As a BREC officer and attorney, my reading of the plain language of the BREC Model Constitution, Article V: Removal From Office, differs from the position represented at Monday’s BREC meeting as the consensus of the Board. Article V, Section 1 requires ten (10) days notice to the BREC membership of a motion to be presented at any regular or special meeting for the purpose of consideration of the removal of a member or officer. “Removal [of a member or officer from office] may be for any cause, including but not limited to, an alleged violation of oath of office,” upon a vote of two-thirds (2/3) vote of the BREC membership present at the meeting.
Neither Article V, nor any other provision or RPOF rule that I am aware of, provides for a preliminary determination by the Board as to the merits of such a motion, prior to providing notice to BREC membership and vote on such motion, provided the motion otherwise meets the requirements of Article V.
After the meeting, I reviewed Mr. Bender’s Motion in detail and consulted further with BREC Counsel, Mr. Mavrick, who then also reviewed the matter with RPOF Counsel. My view and Mr. Mavrick’s revised recommendation on the matter, after consultation with RPOF counsel, is that the Board is required to provide BREC membership with ten (10) days notice of Mr. Bender’s Motion, and that the Motion be voted upon by the Membership at next month’s meeting.
The merits of a motion to remove a member or officer are wholly separate from the validity of that motion to be considered by the BREC membership. It is for the BREC members to determine the outcome of such a motion.
I regret the confusion, rancor and time lost debating this issue, and felt it necessary to correct the record. As Republicans, we value integrity and transparent governance in our organizations and Republican leaders.