Former Carroll County Commissioner Richard Rothschild resigned his seat on the Carroll County Republican Central Committee on Thursday night.
The regular meeting of the nine-person committee, which includes Chairman Dave Brauning Jr., took place from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the South Carroll Senior and Community Center.
As discussed at Thursday’s meeting, the previous regularly scheduled meeting of the committee was on Nov. 21, when Rothschild announced he would step down effective Dec. 31 or upon the selection of a replacement.
According to comments that committee members Christopher Tomlinson and Karen Leatherwood made Thursday, the committee voted unanimously Nov. 21 to publicize the impending vacancy and accept nominations and resumes.
An email publicizing that opening for a committee seat would have been sent by Joe Leeman, the committee’s nonvoting secretary, but no such email was sent out. According to Leeman, speaking at Thursday’s meeting, Brauning told him not to send the email.
Instead, an email was sent out after Nov. 21 to committee members saying there would be a special meeting at Mudgett’s Auto Body in Finksburg on Nov. 26. A quorum — at least five voting committee members present — was not reached Nov, 26, according to discussion at Thursday’s meeting, but a subsequent meeting for the following Saturday, Nov. 30, was held at that location. That meeting was attended by five voting members, including at least Brauning, Rothschild, Kathryn Adelaide and Justin Mudgett, according to discussion at the Thursday meeting.
Also in attendance was the nonvoting committee parliamentarian, Justin Sidock.
Calling a quorum, those in attendance nominated Sidock to fill Rothschild’s seat, and a majority carried that motion, including a vote from Rothschild.
At Thursday’s meeting, members who had not attended the special meeting, including Leatherwood and Tomlinson — both of whom said it was irregular to hold any meetings on a Saturday, but particularly on the Saturday after Thanksgiving — objected to both not carrying through with the Nov. 21 decision to advertise the position, as well as to Rothschild voting for himself.
Brauning read from an email from the Maryland Republican Party that said Rothschild’s vote for himself was illegal, but that other decisions made on Nov. 30, such as not publicizing the soon-to-be-open position on the committee, were legally decided.
Adelaide in particular argued that, according to committee bylaws, it was not possible to take the vote until there was an actual vacancy from Rothschild resigning.
Rothschild disputed this, noting that if there had to be a vacancy in the presidency or a Senate seat before a vote could be taken, then the way America conducts democracy would be threatened. He also said the group’s bylaws indicate that the committee needed to nominate someone within 30 days of a vacancy. And so, in the spirit of moving things along, he said, he resigned effective 8:10 p.m. Thursday, pulling out a prepared letter, signing it and handing it to Brauning.
After further discussion prompted by Leatherwood and Tomlinson about taking the time to look for other candidates, voting committee member Seth Shipley moved that they nominate Sidock for the vacancy and then vote on his serving as Rothschild’s replacement.
The vote was 2 to 4 against, with Shipley and voting member Cathey Allison voting yes; voting members Larry Helminiak, Tomlinson, Adelaide and Leatherwood voting no; and Mudgett abstaining.
The committee’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 23.