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Our View: Republican Central Committee gets second chance to properly follow its own process

Former Carroll County Commissioner Richard Rothschild resigned his seat on the Carroll County Republican Central Committee recently, after only about a year on the committee. That’s his prerogative, of course. But the way he and some of the members of the committee tried to circumvent a bylaw, not mention a process the committee itself voted on, to name his replacement wasn’t handled properly. So we’re glad several members of the committee, essentially, voted not to allow it.

Sure, this is inside baseball. But there’s a right way to do things — as Rothschild, who frequently cited and expressed his admiration for the Constitution during his eight years as a commissioner, well knows. The committee held its regular meeting Dec. 19. The topic du jour came out of the previous meeting of the committee, on Nov. 21, when Rothschild announced he would step down effective Dec. 31 or upon the selection of a replacement.

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According to comments committee members Christopher Tomlinson and Karen Leatherwood made at the most recent meeting, the committee had 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, Chairman Dave Brauning Jr. told him not to send the email.

Instead, an email was sent out to committee members saying there would be a special meeting on Nov. 26. A quorum — at least five voting committee members present — was not reached Nov. 26, but a subsequent meeting for the following Saturday, Nov. 30, was held. That meeting was attended by five voting members. Also in attendance was the nonvoting committee parliamentarian, Justin Sidock.

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Former Carroll County Commissioner Richard Rothschild resigned his seat on the Carroll County Republican Central Committee on Thursday night.

Calling a quorum, those in attendance nominated Sidock to fill Rothschild’s seat, and a majority carried that motion, including a vote from Rothschild. But 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 to fill his own position.

According to the Maryland Republican Party, Rothschild’s vote was illegal (although not publicizing the soon-to-be-open position on the committee was OK). Committee member Katherine Adelaide 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 but in the spirit of moving things along, he said, he resigned effective immediately, 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, committee member Seth Shipley moved that they nominate Sidock for the vacancy and then vote on his serving as Rothschild’s replacement. The committee voted against that, 4-2, with one abstention.

Nothing against Sidock. Perhaps he will eventually wind up on the committee. But that should happen after following the process the committee voted on in November — publicizing the vacancy and accepting nominations and resumes. And it certainly shouldn’t have happened with the resigning Rothschild having a vote on his successor.

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