It’s time for some leadership from the State Committee and Executive Committee of the DPG. When we were elected to these position we accepted a responsibility to our party and it’s membership.

23 Executive Committee members agreed last week on some important next steps to take to assure a thriving and transparent Democratic Party of Georgia.  We did nothing wrong.

Since then, Chairman Berlon has fired the fundraising staff at the party, threatened party leaders and members with  lawsuits and other repercussions, overstepped his authority concerning affiliate organizations, and has shown disrespect for the party and it’s membership.

When Mr Berlon ran for DPG Chair he outlined a number of ideas that he would implement to assure a strong and dynamic party.  Check out what he wrote.  Aside from offices in Augusta and Savannah, we have not seen these ideas come to fruition.

I am heartbroken over these recent events.  I have been a devoted Democrat since the time I could stick a stamp on an envelope (my mother had me started at the age of 4 or 5).  I supported Mr Berlon in 2007 and in 2011.  I worked closely with him to help fashion his campaign, and counted him among my friends.  I was on the ED Selection Committee and thought that with Page and Mike leading our party we would move forward with vigor and vision.

After 14 months at the helm of the party, it’s clear that Chairman Berlon is not prepared for the work ahead.  Below the fold is the text from an email that went out this morning to all State Committee Members.  It went out anonymously for fear of repercussions from Chairman Berlon and other party members. I helped craft that email.  I am not afraid. We have done nothing wrong. Our consciences are clear.

TO: DPG State Committee Members

Since his election 14 months ago, Democratic Party of Georgia Chair Mike Berlon has violated multiple sections of the DPG Charter and By-Laws, circumvented the the authority of the State and Executive Committees, and put our Party in serious financial peril.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

The State Chair has failed to provide a budget to the State or Executive Committees during his 14 months as Chair.

The State Chair has failed to take the necessary steps to raise sufficient funds for ongoing activities (call time, one on one donor contact, etc) despite the strong recommendations of the Executive Director and Party employees.

The State Chair made hiring and compensation decisions, a responsibility granted only to the Executive Director, without the authorization or approval of the State or Executive Committees (BL1.6.4 , BL1.6.5).

On Monday, February 27, the State Chair fired two Party employees, a responsibility granted only to the Executive Director, without the authorization or approval of the State and Executive Committees. These employees were fundraising staff (BL1.6.4 , BL1.6.5).

The State Chair denied, from the outset of her employment, the Executive Director’s enumerated responsibility of “hiring of qualified staff members for all budgeted and other approved or temporary positions and institute dismissal or other disciplinary actions as necessary against such employees”, severely restricting her ability to successfully perform her role as Executive Director. (BL1.6.2 ).

The State Chair brought disgrace upon the party by discussing internal Party matters with the media and jeopardizing the fundraising apparatus of the Party (BL2.8.2 ).

The State Chair has threatened (with lawsuits, and other repercussions) multiple members of the State and Executive Committees merely for speaking out against him in legitimately called meetings and in email exchanges, bringing disrepute upon the Party (BL2.8.2 ).

Mike Berlon has forgotten that the ultimate authority in our Party belongs to the State Committee, not the Chair.

It’s time to remind him.

### 152 Responses to Chairman Berlon Please Resign. Today.

1. JD says:

I received an email from Chairman Berlon inviting me to the Jefferson-Jackson dinner on behalf of the State and Executive Committees. Did the committee’s vote to extend that invitation, because if not we need to take Berlon down for overstepping his authority to invite people to the vent.

>_<

• Ed says:

Just out of curiosity, is this you making a joke?

• JD says:

yes

2. As an aside,

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VIP Admission + Photo Line: 10,000 Please forward this email to friends and family, this event will sell out! You can contact Nikema at NikemaW@yahoo.com if you are interested in buying tickets. Thank you for your support! Nikema Williams Small DNC Member, Georgia 1st Vice Chair, Democratic Party of Georgia 3. cranky & crusty says: JD- Congressional Districts are populated by the members of the state committee that reside in the 5th. They elect a chair, who then in turn appoints a Vice Chair. So if you have access aka can look up the state committee people on the GA Dems website, then you can find any congressional districts members. • JD says: Right, I want to know who is on the district’s Coordinating Committee, which is different. 4. JD says: Does anyone know who is on CD5’s District Coordinating Committee? • Ed says: Yes. • JD says: Can you tell me? Or point me to where this committee’s membership is listed? 5. cranky & crusty says: I don’t think Labor will be contributing very much to the DPG this year. I’ve hear that money the various labor orgs had been giving to the DPG has been severely cut back. In one case from 25K last year to 5k this year. Not sure how money will be raised for the DNC convention expenses. 6. Disgusted says: This looks like Democrats doing everything they can to make themselves the laughing stock of the state. It’s time to get it together and do what’s right. Does anybody care about doing that, or do you all just want to bad mouth each other. 7. Nostradamus says: 142 and still going. 8. Old Timer says: I’ll freely admit to “retreating the the anonymity of the Internet” to say what I have to say, and you can take it or leave it. I have acquaintances on both sides of this controversy, and there are people I like and admire, and others I frankly don’t, on both sides as well. So I’ll say what I have to say using a pseudonym to get it out there without my identity being an issue, and also to keep from getting more emails and phone calls about this matter than I’ve already gotten. When there’s a mess like this, I think the best way to sort it out is to stop thinking and talking about what has happened in the past and just look at where we are now and what the best route forward is. The real threshold question is whether the Chair should resign or be removed. I’ve known Mike for a long time, and I think he did a good job in Gwinnett. I hate to say, however, that there are real reasons he should go for the good of the party. This analysis really doesn’t depend on sorting out who did what and what provision of the bylaws permitted or prohibited whatever happened. The real question is whether the Democratic Party of Georgia can move forward as a credible organization that people want to support with their dollars and efforts with him as Chair. I’m not sure that can happen. People know the party is dead bang broke and over committed to things like rent on the new office, it’s out there that Mike doesn’t put the effort in to raise money himself (I can’t say I blame him for not wanting to twist arms on the phone – having done it myself – but that’s a vital part of the job), and there have been some very questionable expenditures that have gotten a public airing. I appreciate and understand Mike’s loyalty to his friends, but I think anyone with a grain of sense will ask why the state Democratic Party hired a “lobbyist.” I heard griping and snickering about that hire before this blow up from people outside the organization who need to support it, and this brouhaha has only made that situation worse. Throw in some of the other hires and fires/resignations that have been aired out during this controversy, as well as the obvious deep divisions that have been exposed, and I doubt that the current version of the DPG will be able to attract enough donors. People don’t like to give to organizations they think are financially desperate anyway, and then when you throw this nasty stuff in, it only gets a lot worse. Will we get money from some organizations (mostly our labor friends) that give at least something to the JJ Dinner regardless of circumstances? Yes, but I assert that the griping from people (especially legislators) will cut that group down to a smaller number (giving smaller checks) than it even otherwise would be. We will get some money from qualifying, but even that won’t be as large we might hope, with fewer seats for Democrats to run in. We may really need a true “reset” to get people to take a second look at the DPG as a place worthy of their dollars. After this ugly scene over the last week and Mike’s central role in it (especially Galloway’s column, that made Mike look terrible), I doubt we can get that if Mike remains as chair. Mike may have been trying to save himself and avoid having to go by being able to say that he made the necessary changes, but the news coverage of this has made Mike seem like the problem (the AP story on this – which appeared in just about every newspaper in the state – even has UGA professor/quote machine Charles Bullock pointing to “paying the rent on a shiny new office” as part of the problem). I must add this, however. There are people on the “Berlon must go” side who’ve been involved in the DPG for a long time, even going back to before the 2002 cataclysm that ended the old machine. They have, frankly, been doing what some posters here say – they gripe, complain, spin conspiracy theories, and take shots at whoever is at the headquarters, regardless of who it is or how they got there. We all know it, because those who’ve been around long enough know understand that is what they (and those they pull into their orbit) always do. We get their phone calls, their emails, and hear what they say to us and others at party meetings. I add the last part as a word of caution about the way forward. Mike may need to go, but we’d better be careful who we turn the headquarters over to if he does. We really can’t screw this up now. 9. Steve Perkins says: Catherine, I am trying to understand what the overlap is between the two groups if any. Thus far you are the only one on both lists that I am aware of. That is why I am asking for the list of the 12. I understand that sone of the 12 may not oppose Mike and assume that others might. I would like to understand who opposes the Chair continuing. Those who helped you craft the email that you sent out anonymously have certainly retreated. 10. Catherine says: OK. No one “retreated to the anonymity of the internet”. Members of the Executive Committee called for a Special Meeting per the ByLaws. The meeting was not an guerilla insurgency. It was a meeting, with specific agenda items. The agenda was adhered to, minutes were prepared and distributed. It seems that some are confusing the calling for the Special Meeting with the email that went out asking for the Chair’s resignation. These were very different incidents, and should not be lumped together. JD: There are a total of 46 positions on the Executive Committee two positions are held by the same person, and one is vacant. So, quorum is 23. 11. Steve Perkins says: Catherine You were this one to choose this forum not I. I still would like my question answered . I am delighted to learn that there were 12 names on the letter for a meeting. But I still would like to know who they are and I simply do not know. If you are not willing to answer those questions then who is? I may ultimately side with you and others in calling for the Chair to resign I am completely open to that possibility. But wwat I am not open to is allowing unknown people to continue to wage this guerrilla insurgency and then retreat as cowards to the anonymity of the Internet. And I can assure you most of the Part will not tolerate that either. 12. Catherine says: 1.All 14 people who signed on to call the meeting were listed in the email that went to the Exec Comm calling for the meeting. 2. I did not call the meeting and am not inclined to reveal the names if those who signed on, for fear that they will be maligned like those who have come forward. 3. I am sick and tired of all this discusiion about the process. Really? Disagree with me all you like, but this is YOUR party too, and there are serious challenges ahead due to these issues. I may write more later, but I am in a meeting with DNC & OFA leaders in town from DC & Chicago and have just finished delegate selection training. • JD says: Catherine, The process is extremely important. You all are arguing that the correct process was not properly followed to have a person fired. Additionally, if there were only 12 members present, then it was not an official meeting because it did not have quorum. My understanding is that All Congressional Chairs, All federally elected officials (Congressmen), all DPG Executive officers, three appointed officials, a member from each affiliate organization, etc etc, must be there – which would be well more than 24 people. BL6.3 A quorum for the conduct of Executive Committee business shall be a majority of the membership of the Executive Committee. A majority vote is required for passage of Executive Committee actions. So any votes you all had were illegal and void. • Literate Person says: Did anyone say there were only 12 people at the meeting? 12 is the threshold for calling a meeting without chair approval. • JD says: I misread – there were 12 that called for the meeting. Does anyone know who was at the actual meeting? • Steve Perkins says: JD yes that was clear in the min ute… I have only seen part of the original email that announced the meeting.. I still do not who the 12 were 13. Steve Perkins says: No I thing the questions are totally relevant. Those who demand Transparency ought to be transparent themselves.. The state Part need s to know the names of those who called for the meeting. I absolutely believe Catherine ‘s motivation was selfless what I question is the methods that have been used to get us to this point. Do the ends really justify the means? There are processes outlined in the the By-Laws for a removal of an officer. Those involved, Could have sent a signed non-pejorative letter to the Char and copied the rest of the Ex Committee demanding a special meeting. Let the play out for a bit and if there was no satisfaction emailed the entire state Party asking them to consider a process for removal of the Chair. But that is not what was done…RJ announced a meeting of the EXCom but failed to include the names of the 12 people demanding the meeting. Absent the names of the 12 it “Looks” like be called\\in a direct assault on the Authority of the Chair. I Want to know who the 12 were. I want to know why the meeting was not held at DPG. I want to know why people were not allowed to listen in to the meeting who would not identify themselves. (Absent a vote to close the meeting under Roberts’s rules it can’t be done.) I want to know who got the meeting minutes.and why Mike was excluded. I want to know by what authority under the by-laws the acting secretary thought it was fine to distibute the minutes to the enire state party prior to the minutes being approved by the ExCom at the next meeting of the Excom. Absent answers to those wholly legitimate questions the meeting lack the transparency the state committee expects of everyone involved. Absent the facts the criticism is completely fair in defense of regular procedure as opposed to the havoc unleashed by “ANONYMOUS”. I do not rise in defense of Mike at all, I just don not believe the party should be subjected to this fiasco without knowing who is involved. And if they so not have the courage to lead they should resign from the role that put them on ExComm. I also not that Catherine decided to to he part ion penning the article here rather than sending an email to the entire State committee. Do you really think that is sufficient? Catherine? Really? I suspect 80% of the state committee still does not know it was you, Courage? Really? • CatherineAtlanta says: Steve, you know that I did not distribute the minutes to the State Committee. I repeat my earlier question: If a fully masked and robed individual walked into a State Committee meeting, would the body allow them to stay? There is a difference between an open meeting and allowing anonymous attendees. I did not send the anonymous email. I helped to craft it. Threats of legal action and other repercussions made some fearful of being named. The reasons for the Special Executive Meeting were very clear and had nothing to do with removing the chair. The agenda was in the original email to the Executive Committee and related to the scheduling of regular Executive Committee meetings and clarification of the party finances. But, of course, you KNOW that – you got the minutes. 14. Steve Perkins says: and who are the twelve members who called the meeting? • MelGX says: Why are you asking these questions here? Do your own homework. Contact your Congressional District Chair or Vice Chair. Contact your party officers. It’s not my job to remediate you. Even if I were inclined, your personal attacks on Catherine were completely misplaced and over the line. • JD says: Maybe because BfD decided to publicly attack the sitting chairman of the Democratic Party and then, when someone calls them out on it, they get pissy. If you guys had any real backing, you would have taken it to the state committee – not on a blog. • Just the Facts says: Just going to point this out one more time, Mike Berlon is the one who went to the press with this. If Mike Berlon would not have commented to Jim Galloway, this would not be in the press and would not be on BfD. 15. Steve Perkins says: Why then was there a requirement that people on the call identify themselves? And why was the meeting not done at DPG HQ? • Peaches says: These questions are completely irrelevant. • JD says: If the members do not identify themselves, how do you know there is a quorum. Completely relevant question. 16. Nostradamus says: There are few people who would be better served to be CD than Catherine. Also, FWIW, there are few people as trustworthy and honest and less desiring of any undue negativity or malicious activities within the Party than Catherine. Which, frankly, makes her terrible for politics. 17. Steve Perkins says: I was not aware that that a meeting of the Excomm could be closed. Was there a vote to close the meeting? As for the calling of the meeting meeting itself. It is my perception that only th chair can call a meeting, but he must call a meeting if 1/4 th of the members call for it. I think if Mike refuse to call a meeting if there were 12 demanding it then he violated the bylawas and that should have been the issue you brought to the state committee and I believe given the underlying issue was grounds for the Chair’s removal by following the By-Laws and letting the SC decided for itself rather than a small group trying to push through an agenda. Through email and the blogosophere. Again I ask, why was the meeting not at DPG? Furthermore as to the release of the minute…. you told me on the phone that you distribute the minutes for review of those in attendance, cosmetic changes were made and then the minutes were distributed to the entire excom (I assume the other 24 were included), but they were not sent to mike in the distribution. Those meeting minutes were not approved.. they could not be approved until the next meeting of the ExComm Was it your intent to wait until that meeting to disseminate to the entire membership? My perception is that has the full Excomm been afforded the opportunity to read the minutes reflect on the larger situation they may never have seen the light of day, but more importantly we would not have had to go through what we are in right now. The point is there were several points in which you could have leveraged a better outcome than we have now… but a decision was made to skirt due process via the by-laws to public bludgeon and castrate the chairman and roil the entire party. The fact that some people actualluy thought that it was the only possible path makes me wonder…seriously wonder if they have not didqualified themselves from serving the Party. You should have the moral courage to do this thing the right way. Andt it that stunningly poor tactical jusdement that leaves me to wonder s if you are up to the task of leading the CD, let alone the party. • MelGX says: The meeting was not closed and the bylaws were followed to the letter. They can be found here: http://www.scribd.com/GeorgiaDemocrat/d/69760784-DPG-by-Laws-Final10-21-11 BL6.2.2 Special Meetings of the Executive Committee may be called by the State Chair or at least 1/4 of the membership of the Executive Committee upon receipt by all members of written notice 2 days prior to such meeting. Such notice may be given electronically.BL6.2.3 Meetings of the Executive Committee may be conducted by telephone. • MelGX says: FYI, I have sitting in my inbox the final copy of the minutes of the Special EC meeting that were distributed to the full EC and Mike Berlon was indeed copied. 18. State Committee Mem. (Ful) says: While there are some interesting points being made, I cannot help but wonder what the real dynamics of OFA in the hot mix has been. I read a good bit between some of the lines and this is still the usual power struggle, mixed with sour grapes, finger pointing, out and out lies, and a third party in the mix and that third party is OFA. Whatever our final solution, whether Mike Berlon goes or stays, whether you side with Paige or not, beware of the chance you are giving to a group that does not and will not support the state party in rebuilding Georgia as a Blue State. They have raised their ugly heads for the second time and will disappear after the general election and will have taken with them all our money, all our manpower, and all our hope for another year. For crying out loud, let’s move on. If there are enough votes to remove Berlon, get them out on the table, propose your replacement and sign your names to the petition. Don’t hide any more, point no finger but at your self, and win or lose, make up your minds to step up for the Democratic Party and help the leadership do the job.] It is time to stop carping and start acting. 19. griftdrift says: 48?!?!?!?!?! I think we’ve found the nut of the problem. • Ed says: twss. 20. CatherineAtlanta says: The bylaws were followed, with the exception of minutes being distributed (though if you believe the meeting of 2/22 to be against bylaws, then the “minutes” were merely notes from a group of interested parties) by someone other than the Secretary and prior to being approved by the Executive Committee. However, said “minutes” or “notes” were distributed only to Executive Committee and State Committee members. Everyone on the Executive Committee was aware of the Special Meeting, anyone who appeared in person or called in (and identified themselves) was permitted to attend. It is now time for members of the Executive Committee and State Committee who have remained silent to step forward, no matter their perspective, and take some action. And, by stepping forward I don’t mean commenting on a blog that has no affiliation with the Democratic Party of Georgia. Perhaps one of the 48 Executive Committee Members or 300+ State Committee members could make an effort to confirm whether an Executive Committee Meeting is being planned? 21. Steve Perkins says: At the end of the day, I might quickly reach the conclusion that Berlon needs to go and perhaps many months ago.. Most state members to do not have the access to the day to day that those “Inside the beltway have. Never the less. for all the talk of Berlon not abiding by the By-laws. It is my perception that those who have sought to rid the party of Mike have failed in a fundamental duty to serve their constituents by following the bylaws themselves. Quite honestly had they done that. they could have gathered far greater support of the ExComm and the SComm. While the anger at Berlon might be wholly legitimate, nobody asked this group to substitute their judgement for the whole of the state party. We have by-laws for a reason and those who choose to operate outside the by-laws regardless if their rationale is magnanimous or meglo-maniacal have to be held account. If Mike can’t pick and choose which bylaws to follow neither can his opponents. 22. Long time State Committee Member says: it’s funny to me that the folks who are having so much trouble processing this are stuck on the fact it went public, not on the actual problems being endlessly enumerated. I can personally account for the fact I told three members of the exec committee in August that the Chairman needed oversight, and lots of it. However since then he’s refused to call any exec meetings ( beyond the half assed one in Dublin) or distribute a budget. He spent the first 6 months of his tenure telling us we had no money, had his brother do a review of the treasury -all this was announced at SC meetings, Yet in Sept in Dublin told us we didn’t have money problems any more. Wait what.. in 3 months they all magically went away? No, we still had them, as our disclosures will attest. Sadly once he’d fired Trevor, Charity and created such a hostile situation for Page she had to leave, it was time to go public. It’s the only thing anyone has responded to. Sad, yes. True, yes. On the flip side, if we have nothing to hide this really shouldn’t be an issue, right? The problem is, there are systemic issues that are not being addressed. Starting today, and in the next couple weeks some very high profile Democrats are coming to GA, lets see if the chairman is invited to those events or gets a shout out for hosting them, or appears on stage with anyone. • Jen B. says: “[I]t’s funny to me that the folks who are having so much trouble processing this are stuck on the fact it went public, not on the actual problems being endlessly enumerated.” Thank you. • Ed says: It really is all that need be said in this debate. • Steve Perkins says: Mel, Thank you for the clarification. I thought Catherine had told me that that Berlon was not on the Distro. Apparently he was. That news comes as a great relief to me as to the process. I am more than happy to withdraw that concern. 23. APN Editor says: Good for you Catherine. I was waiting for this post. 24. MB Gotta go. Please understand I am not defending Berlon. I have not heard from Mike on the substance and I think it is foolish to only hear one side alone. I am not offering a defense of Berlon in the least. Everything said about him here and elsewhere may be true. My point isthat the path taken to push him out the door was not the only arrow in the quiver. And the process chosen is as suspect as the leadership sklls of those who have led the effort. Every one I have spoken with statewide and it is over 40 members of the state committee is deeply concerned about how we put this mess back together. Most are of the view that proper process was not followed and that is why we are here now. Those who oppose him decided to drop an atomic bomb rather then orchestrate a surgical strike on Berlon. They nuked the entire party to get rid of one man. At the end of the day….I am not sure they care and I am certainly not sure they should be trusted to lead us into the future. Not because they are wronghearted but because they apparently could not see where this approach would lead. And I have to ask why. Did they think they would not win if they took it to the state committee? Did they really think there wa no other option? Really? We do not need people like this leading the party, let alone standing guard while we clean up the mess they made. • MB gotta go says: With all due respect Mr. Perkins, you must be new around these parts. The Party didn’t die when Bobby Kahn said “screw you” to the Kerry campaign during the 2004 primary. What happened was dedicated volunteers went to the Kerry campaign and said “despite our Chair invest in Georgia”. The Party didn’t die when Kahn said “screw you” to Howard Dean at Melanie Goux’s office. Nope. Dedicated volunteers went to Howard Dean and said “despite our Chair invest in Georgia.” The Party didn’t die when Jane Kidd lied about staying neutral in the 2008 Primary and supported Obama. Nope. Dedicated volunteers went to the Clinton volunteers and said “don’t turn your back on the Party.” The Party didn’t die when Jane Kidd couldn’t muster up the strength to stop every good Dem from running for Governor. Nope. Dedicated volunteers went to every campaign and said stay and fight until the General Election. Instead of waiting for the next 2.5 years and having dedicated volunteers continually beg on behalf of a rogue Chairman, you have dedicated volunteers saying now, today, please resign. Instead of looking at this situation as they “nuked” the Party look at it as an awakening period – a time to get some real change. Instead of complaining about “this in an election year and we shouldn’t argue in public”, look at as a blessing that this is getting aired out in 2012 instead of in 2014. How many times have you ever heard Democratic volunteers in Georgia say “Mea Culpa” in public? Never. How many times have you heard someone’s supporters say “Mea Culpa” in public. Never. Maybe in private. But never in public. This is a rare and brave occasion. Embrace those who are willing to eat crow because they truly believe in the mission of the Democratic Party. Instead of wanting to burn these dedicated volunteers at the stake, the State Committee should be thankful that they brought these issues to light. Do you really think this matter would have be solved at the State committee level? Really? Really? How so when the State Committee can barely get quorum in order to elect someone to the DNC. Take this situation as the starting point of a new conversation. Not the ending point of the Party. If your leadership is as strong as I suspect Mr. Perkins then suggest you explore all that is being said and question your Chairman. He can only be held accountable if he is asked the tough questions and answers are demanded of him. The entire Democratic Party in Georgia, and on the National level, needs to stop worrying about being embarrassed in the media and in public. If you aren’t feeling uncomfortable then you are feeling too much comfort in being on the losing side. Stand up for the next generations of Democrats. Stop embracing the Democrats core belief in the cult of personality. • JD says: Seems to me that the problem may be with the “dedicated volunteers” that can’t get along with any of the chairs. Just Sayin’ • MB gotta go says: no JD you missed the entire point. Try reading before making statements. The point was volunteers have always had to cleaned up behind dumbass Chairs who try to run this Party like Napoleon. This Party has survived despite their antics because of dedicated volunteers. Instead of bitching in private corners finally some dedicated volunteers have stepped forward to say “enough’. Sorry I had to spell it out for those of you who have reading comprehension skills. • JD says: Well, that is your assessment; however, what is see is a whiny group within the party who don’t make up a significant number of the state committee to do anything about any of these chairs. Seeing no recourse from the State Committee, they publicly gripe and complain because the squeaky wheel gets the oil. I find it more likely that we have rabble rousers inside the party than three “bad chairs” in a row. • MB gotta go says: so in your limited assessment and involvement with the Party, since I don’t ever recall you having the cajones to run for the State Committee – you think Dems in Georgia have lost every statewide seat because of a few whiny people and not because of 3 Chairs who have had limited vision and abilities to build a grassroots organization Okey dokey, you’re the 1st winner in the “who gets a free JJ ticket” contest. • JD says: I think they severely limited the ability of the State Chair because he/she was always trying to fix internal stuff and couldn’t focus on the external. Either way, go Google “Bad Political Blog,” I’m going to bed. • MB gotta go says: JD if there weren’t rabble rousers in the Party there wouldn’t be a LGBT Caucus, a Latino Cauvus, a Women Caucus, a Young Democrats of Georgia, a Forward Georgia, a Georgia Women Vote, or a Better Georgia. All achieved despite the wishes of Party Chairs. • JMPrince says: Interesting discussion. Some additional points that might be useful going forward: 1.) Please if you’re allegedly fighting for ‘greater transparency’ and for ‘bringing our problems out in the open’? Don’t be so brave as to hide behind some pseudonym. Do us all the favor of letting us know where you stand & why and who you are, so we might be able to better assess it all in some context. That would be helpful. 2.) I dearly appreciate folks who have a deeper historical perspective here, again this helps somewhat for the context. It will not however ‘solve’ the issues that perpetually need addressing. 3.) As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m typically in favor of strategic whining. Not as another perpetual entitlement, but as a proper expression of dissatisfaction with things and conditions that need changing. However, this usually necessitates and likely requires an alternative plan that might be more favorable or successful. I’ve seen none forthcoming on so far. 4.) When or if we have any suggestions of a better plan of attack, WE as a Party & state sanctioned entity will have something to vote and act on perhaps. The State Committee will do that in coordination with the ExecCom. Goodness knows neither the AJC, the APN nor the GOP will do it for us. We’ll be doing it. 5.) Cong. John Lewis has a lovely speech he’s been giving for a long time. It’s about children sheltering from a huge storm and dangerous high winds in his family’s rickety shotgun shack home. Despite being terrified and confused as to where safety might lie, as Lewis tells the tale, the children were repeatedly exhorted to ‘stay together’ & ‘stay in the house’ and try to ‘walk with the wind’ to keep the house from lifting off it’s foundations. They did just that, and survived to tell the tale. We might all finally take these words to heart and think about their true deeper meaning. JMP • MB gotta go says: 1.) Please if you’re allegedly fighting for ‘greater transparency’ and for ‘bringing our problems out in the open’? — Sorry JP never once said I was “fighting for greater transparency”. I said don’t be embarrassed when the shit hits the table. Its better now than it has been in the past when the shit hit the fan and everyone cowardly took cover. • JMPrince says: Still generally bad practice. And yes, that’s where the argument started. JMP • MB gotta go says: not even sure I understand your comment or is that question. I’m using a moniker because of where I work (and its not the Disastrous Party of Georgia). You can take my comments with a grain of salt if you so dislike anonymous posters. Think for yourself. Ask for yourself. Hold your ideals true and those you elect hold them accountable. “The day we see the truth and cease to speak is the day we begin to die” ― Martin Luther King Jr. There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right.” ― Martin Luther King Jr. • JMPrince says: All well & good ‘MB’ and I suspect that I’ve got some idea of who the various players are. And I’m always thinking for myself, and not paying much fealty to any cult of personality either. Which is just one reason why I’ve remain so popular I imagine. We all live in the same house. We must communicate and understand each other better. We can all imagine what the ‘opposition’ or the ‘other’ is like. Often these turn out to be just self serving myths, no matter how colorful. There’s a fabulous old song for that. In Yiddish: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGgFqq1yVe0 By the great Paul Robeson, one of NJ’s finest. We still need to develop some facts here to better understand what is & was going on. Heaping dysfunction upon dysfunction still will not make the trains run. And I’m betting that I’ll be misunderstood once again too. JMP 25. MB gotta go says: Steve Perkins, if you believe that the “minutes” are what poisoned all of this then I have a Jefferson Jackson dinner I want to sell you tickets to. You do know that when you purchase a ticket all your money will go towards Democratic grassroots activities and not to the Chair hiring his favorite “yes” people. 26. MB gotta go says: Wait a minute did Berlon tell the Marietta Daily that “he was not fully informed about the fiscal picture. ” before Page resigned. Oh bullshit. He’s the only one who controlled the finances. That dude is pathological. Hide your kids, hide your wallets, hide your debit cards. I can’t believe he postponed his presser. The presser where he was going to announce that he was suing the DNC and Obama for America. Sndeak if you want to continue to think this is all petty then you might want to tell your guy that even a hint about suing the DNC and OFA is beyond stupid and won’t bring any Party unity or favor. Hey State Committee Member (Ful) – I guess you don’t know what the DNC has been calling your lovely Chair for about 2-3 months now — THE ROGUE CHAIRMAN. The DNC has known for quite a while that Berlon needed to go before Berlon starting yapping to Galloway like a chatty Cathy. Berlon answers to no one because this the Democratic Party of Mike Berlon. Its obvious Berlon can’t handle the day-to-day operations of the DPG: – He lets his best friend’s wife become his Chief of Staff and then puts her on payroll without the executive cmte knowing, – he then hires his best friend as the DPG lobbyist w/o the exec cmte knowing (because the DPF really needs a lobbyist when legislature is in session because the House and Senate Dem caucuses don’t do a good job–NOT), – he lets the guy he hired as Political Director stay on payroll even though the Political Director can’t pass DNC vetting (good luck with secret service letting that guy around the President), – he fires 2 professional fundraisers and replaces them with an intern with no fundraising experience, – he claims to have reduced160,000 off the books although he’s going to have to rehire an ED in 2 months (so there goes that reduction),
– he doesn’t have enough money in the DPG bank account to put down a deposit for the JJ space,
– he’s hired the same guy to raise  for this year’s JJ although the guy did it last year and last year’s JJ raised the least amount of money in 10 years.

And on top of everything he doesn’t understand how to say “no comment” to the press. As a lawyer one would think he wouldn’t lie so rampant in the press…but yet he continues.

27. The question I trip over everyday is this one: Was it really necessary to destroy the party in order to save it?

I have nade no assertion publicly or privately about the Chairman’s conduct. I do not have enough hard facts to make a real judgment. That is simply a fact. ANd a fact I am not at ease with. I want to no more.. I want to know the truth.

What I do Know is this. I find serious fault not with the hearts of people involved in this mess who have risen in opposition. I think they misinterpret the bylaw’s on the ablility to call a meeting and that y were unwilling to take the path proscribed. I think the meeting itself requires some explanation as to location and not allowing people to attend anonymously… I was not aware Exec meetings could be closed without a vote. I wonder what was left out of the minutes.

And having said that I have no particular problem with the content of the meeting itself. I do need more information about its content and context.

All of that pales however when compared witht he egregious violation of the bylaws by Louis Elrod. Minutes have to be approved before they are released.. They were not and could not have been released without the full Excomm rereviein and approving them at the next regular meeting. Releasing those minutes with out approval and with out sending to the chair (according to Catherine) had the effect of making the meeting into either a kangaroo court or an attempted Coup.

Bottom line is that the release of the minutes is what poisoned the entire state. That is not Berlon’s fault. It is the fault of those who love the party so much that they have decided to destroy it in order to save it.

This is my view and not anyone elses’

• CatherineAtlanta says:

Steve,

If an individual walked into an Executive Committee or State Committee meeting with wearing a full face mask and a floor length robe, do you think the body should allow them to stay?

28. Ed says:

So did anyone go to the presser?

• CatherineAtlanta says:

It was postponed.

• Ed says:

You’re joking…right?

• aquariusrizing says:

Considering the number of events that have been organized w/out venues, dates that changed several tims, or featured speakers that have been unconfirmed, I would expect no less nor any more from Mike. He seems to believe that the world revolves around him, his schedule, his misplaced personal ambitions, and the rest of us are just his minions. He’ll schedule it again when HE feels like it- same as he’ll pick and choose the time for the next SC member mtg. His decision to throw several babies out w/the bathwater when he took over is coming back to haunt him. Karma IS.

29. Fletcher says:

JD,

Burn rate = monthly expenses.

Burnout = turnover.

30. Fletcher says:

JD,

The DPG is NOT I repeat NOT Obama.

When a professional fundraiser hears others begin to talk about how Obama raises money, they cease to listen.
____________________________________________________________
The question is not whether Berlon should leave, that is up to members of the state committee. My question is what other options are out there?

It seems that no one was interested in the job when the DPG actually had money. What qualified candidate wants the job now, who has the ability to fundraise?

My largest concern is not who is at the helm, but the rather large burn rate of the party with not much to show for it. Obviously fundraising is not strong, candidate recruitment is weak, candidate and operative training programs are not in place, and op-research hasn’t existed in a while.

• JD says:

Fletcher, that is the most reasonable thing anyone has said lately.

First, there is a high burn rate for people in this position. I believe it is because of BS like this. You have a person who is holding a full time job outside of the party, who isn’t getting paid for their service, who is trying to do the best they can with the resources they have, then everyone comes along and trashes the person when they don’t get their way.

It is a thankless, non-compensated position where you are going to have bombs thrown at you from Republicans and Internal Democrats. Who would want such a job?

• Uh, No says:

The issue here is not what he has done near as much as his reaction to confrontation. Mike Berlon has made mistakes, as every human being has. But when confronted with the undeniable facts that much of what he has done is against the Charter & Bylaws that governs the organization, he backs himself into a corner, lies about others, and denies any wrongdoing. If he would have just said “I messed up, let’s fix this, we’d be in a very different position.

31. Jen B. says:

My 2 cents. I stopped actively participating in mid-2005, so I don’t pretend to know the current inner-workings of DPG. However, I’ve known Catherine for nearly nine years. She’s not a bomb-thrower and isn’t one to rush to judgment. I can only presume that DPG’s internal process is irrevocably broken, which is why she chose to address the Chairman in such a public fashion. Sometimes a little sunlight does us all good.

32. Fundraising 101 says:

Successful political fundraising — either on a campaign or at the organizational level — is on the shoulders of the face of the organization, either the candidate or the chair.

Consistent call time by this person isn’t the only thing that must happen for successful fundraising, but it’s the core of what needs to happen.

A good “fundraiser” is only as good as the willingness of the person who hires them to actually get on the phone and dial for dollars.

Any leader of any organization or candidate willing to abdicate all fundraising responsibility and expect that their “fundraisers” will handle bringing in all dollars needed is, frankly, an amateur.

Success in politics in the 21st century isn’t about happy thoughts and lollipops and unicorns, it’s about raising the money needed to execute your plan, whether a campaign plan or an organizational strategic plan.

You certainly need competent staff, but you also need leaders who are willing to be full partners in the work and who are willing to run organizations or campaigns that are worth investing in.

• JD says:

It is hard to be a full partner when you

1) Don’t get paid
2) Must maintain a job outside of the organization

If you want someone who can devote 8-10+ hours a day to the organization, you should pay them.

Second:

The Obama campaign said 98 percent of January donations were $250 or less. Federal Election Commission filings show Obama’s campaign alone pulled in more than$5 million in un-itemized contributions, usually less than $200 apiece. Many of those donors, however, are repeat contributors, meaning that their aggregate donations over the past year would exceed$250. Still, the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute, which analyzes contributions, found that small donors, those whose aggregate contributions amounted to less than $200, accounted for 48 percent of Obama’s campaign income in 2011. The institute found that small donors accounted for only 9 percent of 2011 fundraising for Mitt Romney, who is battling for front-runner status in the Republican presidential primary and is the party’s top fundraiser. You would rather us have the Republican fundraising model – large donors, than the Democratic grass-roots model of President Obama. Hmmm… interesting. Could Mike do more call time, sure? Would it help, probably. But the core of this problem is this: We have no state wide offices, we have no real power to do anything legislatively. Other than the hopey, feely, lollipop good times we have, what do we have to offer to potential donors. • Ed says: JD, I’m being as diplomatic as possible here, you really are an idiot. • JD says: When you have nothing else to offer, you resort to name calling. You would fit in well at a Republican Primary Debate. • Ed says: There’s honestly nothing to say to you. • JD says: You could start with explaining why my points were wrong. That would be something to say. You could offer alternative solutions to the problem, that would be something to say. Or, you can use Republican tactics of name calling when you have nothing else to offer. This comes when you have nothing else to say. • Chris says: In the micro dollar world you’re competing not only against Obama but also organizations like Komen, PETA, Planned Parenthood, Livestrong etc, organizations with strong brand identities. A state or county Democratic party doesn’t really have that. You also spend just a real inordinate amount of time chasing pledges – a lot of people will tell you on the phone sure I’ll give$25 and then never follow up. It ends up burning a lot of labor and money going after small donations, the return for your buck is just bigger going after the big guys.

Ultimately you have to make the party an attractive vehicle for candidates to raise money into to benefit themselves or their fellow candidates. The party’s a great legal vehicle for this, but you have to inspire confidence that the money won’t be wasted if they raise it and you have to get buy in on the benefits of doing it this way. In the past when the party did a lot of this, a lot of the activists and state committee members would look at the top line (of the money coming in) and say how come that money isn’t spent on us. Well, life is tough – it’s not your money to spend. What I think might not have been grasped by everyone is that when the party is raising millions of dollars as a legal vehicle it adds prestige and THEN party officers/state committee etc have more leverage to raise their own money on top of it for activities that the party wants to pursue without the candidates.

In other words, a lot of people looked at the topline and said hey we should be spending that money on ourselves, not appreciating that if you are just gonna spend it on yourselves that money disappears. Make the party an attractive vehicle for caucus and other election spending and yes that money will come with strings, but in exchange for the strings attached you get the prestige to go out and raise additional money to add to do your own stuff. Just my $0.02. 33. Ed says: BTW, am I just not seeing it but I went to Galloway’s blog and don’t see any mention of the letter or anything… granted I haven’t read the physical AJC in about two weeks… 34. Nostradamus says: This thread will break all kinds of records…. most comments, most stupid, you name it… 35. JMPrince says: I’ll try to make my comments short here. I’ll reserve the balance of my time for a longer screed later however. Some simple points. 1.) Being uninformed on much of the particulars here, (and willing to freely admit such), I think the better part of wisdom is to rescind the usual circular firing squad, and try to get some apparatus to gather together the facts as we understand them, then formulate a plan for moving forward in better order. The firing squad, while certainly gratifying as far as spectacle is concerned, is typically less than edifying for either fact finding or ongoing operational control. 2.) There are a lovely set of splendid grievances here. Some serious, some less so. Still, spelling out our latest set of gross political disappointments (and goodness knows there are many here locally & nationally), does not add up to a more effective operational plan. Or many election successes. What greater good is served by having our DPG leadership effectively decapitated during an election season? I genuinely don’t know. Having said that, I would not have accepted Page’s resignation, but I’m not certain that may have made any difference to the conditions that may have caused it. We all live with the same very old dysfunctional family. Locally & nationally. I just had no idea that Festivus was being held over for so long either. JMP 36. JD says: I have refrained from posting links to my website, but hopefully this will make it through the censor. If you really want to improve the party, read this and start being constructive. http://gapolitico.com/2012/03/01/dpgs-organizational-structure/ 37. JZ says: Has anyone thought that maybe the reason he hired the fund raising staff is because fundraising was poor. Poor performance is a good reason to let someone go. Jus Sayin’ • Uh, No says: Yeah, fundraising was poor because Mike refused to do any call time, like the head of any organization might be expected to do. The senior, experienced staff were fired (one of whom was the planner for the JJ and the other of whom was well-running the Yellow Dog Club, and others), and an inexperienced, recently-hired former intern was retained, who, as I understand it, even thinks he’s a little in over his head without Trevor and Charity. As I understand it, Trevor and Mike did not see eye to eye on the issue of call time. Trevor thought it important, Mike did not. • JZ says: So the DPG has poor fundraising efforts – they fire fundraisers. And that is bad? Instead of blaming the fundraisers, you blame the head of the party. Yet, when the head of the party takes action, you blame the head of the party. • Uh, No says: First of all, the Chair of the party does not have the power to fire anyone. Secondly, it’s interesting that the first action the chair of the party takes with regards to fundraising is to fire the two professionals who have been developing the program. Maybe he should have been doing call time, and we wouldn’t be in this situation. Anyone that knows anything about fundraising knows that high-dollar donors aren’t going to just give to some rando like Trevor. They want to talk to the chair. • JZ says: In the absence of an ED, who has the authority to fire someone. • Uh, No says: Tasso Knight was hired when there was an Executive Director. Please explain that. • JD says: That is not the question I asked. Answer mine first. 38. State Committee Mem. (Ful) says: Just the Facts — these issues were taken public by folks like Gleason – and before her a lot of snide carping that got public notice before Mike went to the press. As for those who point out that Catherine supported Mike for Chair — she did. So did Gleason. Gleason got a plum and Catherine did not — Gleason did not get to run the show by herself which evidently ticked her off, there was no gravy to be had as funds were scarece and Catherine has turned on Mike. If Catherine had been a real supporter do you think she might have found a better way to deal with her issues than dragging the whole party through the mud. There are things that are very ugly I suspect that have not surfaced and I would look carefully at the folks slinging the mud . It has always turned out that the the mud slingers I have know all had dirty hands. It seems to come with the territory. Again, lets take this back into the family and deal with it, get out of public media, electronic and other. Thrash out the issues honestly with a view to solving problems instead of calling names. • Billy says: Page was appointed executive director because she was the most qualified for the job. Catherine got the satisfaction of electing someone she thought would be a great chair. A lot of people on this blog/comment thread gave A LOT to help Mike get elected chair. Everyone here has given A LOT to the Democratic Party. Please, don’t insinuate that Catherine, or anyone, is upset because they didn’t get “a plumb.” You are wrong and it makes you look small. I don’t know how Galloway got the email, but it got sent and forwarded to hundreds of people. Page is not the one to blame for this getting to the press. What has happened, has happened. It is public now. I will admit that I left it all behind me a few years ago. However, I have fought along side every single person on this blog for a decade before that. To see the state of the party the way it is . . . well, I’d be throwing shit at the walls after all we went through. So, fine, it’s public. That isn’t going to make the next election any harder. No voter cares. It has been a long time since the DPG was actually in a place to have an effect on a real election. So, fuck it. Go forth and fight it out. Even if it gets in the street. Get it out. Let everyone vent. If you think people should go, then let the world know you think that. When you’re done, sit down and figure out what makes the most sense going forward. Work for that. You might win, you might lose. The simple fact is that the Democratic Party of Georgia will be strong when there are 50% + 1 person in this state willing to vote for Democrats again. If all else fails, make that your goal. • Uh, No says: Check your facts. Catherine did not even apply for the ED position. She was never in consideration of her own choice. I don’t believe she even went for another job on staff. That’s not why Page resigned, and if you think it is, you have no idea of the problems with OFA and the DNC, which contributed in large part to Page’s decision to resign, as well as, as I understand it, Mike’s inability to do call time. They didn’t see eye-to-eye on how to run the organization, and rather than sitting down and acting like adults, Mike took away her power, something he cannot have done under the Charter & Bylaws. I can’t speak for Page, but if your suggestion is that she resigned her position because she somehow wanted more money or more power just goes to show that you don’t know the character of Page Gleason, so I’m not going to waste my breath dealing with you on that. Yes, I expect that you will see more come out. Unfortunately, much of it will be on Berlon’s hands. For the record, I haven’t yet heard any public response to the issue of hiring and firing of individuals made unilaterally by Mike Berlon. • JZ says: Actually, Mike can take away her power because her power, other than hiring and firing, are not enumerated in the Charter and Bylaws. • Ladida says: JD/JZ, reading is fundamental. Your oversimplified chart doesn’t even include the Executive Committee, aka BOD. SECTION 6. STATE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, EMPLOYEESBL1.6.1 The State Executive Director shall be appointed by the State Chair with theapproval of the Executive Committee and may be dismissed by the State Chair with the approval of the Executive Committee. BL1.6.2 The Executive Director shall be responsible for administrative affairs of the State Party under the general direction of the State Chair and in accordance with policies and directives of the Executive Committee and the State Committee. The State Chair may delegate to the Executive Director any duties and responsibilities required of the State Chair under this Charter and the Bylaws. BL1.6.3 The Executive Director shall serve full time and receive compensation as may be determined by the State Chair with the approval of the Executive Committee. BL1.6.4 The Executive Director shall propose such staff positions as necessary to carry out the functions of the State Party, along with salaries to be paid. Such proposals shall be forwarded to the State Chair for inclusion or modification in the proposed annual budget. Except for temporary office help involving total expenditure of$2500 or 1ess, all unbudgeted positions or changes in salaries of budgeted positions must be approved by the State Chair and the Executive Committee.

BL1.6.5 The Executive Director shall be responsible for the hiring of qualified staff members for all budgeted and other approved or temporary positions and institute dismissal or other disciplinary actions as necessary against such employees.

BL1.6.6 Appeals from disciplinary actions affecting the Executive Director or employees shall be made to the Executive Committee.

• Uh, No says:

Yeah, go ahead and read what Ladida posted. Because you’re wrong. Mike did not have the power to remove her power, and he has never, and will never, have the unilateral power to hire (Tasso) and fire (Charity and Trevor). Period. End of story.

• JD says:

The only power enumerated in the charter for the ED is the power to fire and hire. Other than that, what power that position has is delegated by the chair. If you can show me other enumerated responsibilities, then you will have a leg to stand on.

In the absence of the ED, who has the power to hire/fire someone? In fact, who has the power to do anything right now in the absence of the ED? Clearly if Mike sneeze the wrong way, everyone will claim he’s abusing the air others breathe, so please point me to who has the power to hire/fire when there is no ED.

• CatherineAtlanta says:

I don’t know who forwarded emails to Mr Galloway. I do know that Chairman Berlon spoke to Mr Galloway, giving the AJC something to run. Simply put, if there is no story, they won’t run it.

Fine, let’s take this back into the family. Maybe you, or someone you know could encourage Chairman Berlon to schedule an Executive Committee and/or a State committee Meeting ASAP?

As for me wanting a job at the party. Sorry, darling, you got that one all wrong. I love working for the party as a volunteer. But honestly, the things I’ve done at the party the last few months no one could pay me to do – cleaning up the kitchen after a week of neglect, cleaning bathrooms, organizing cupboards so that no one gets hurt when they open a cupboard door, emptying trash cans, decorating for the holidays. I didn’t mind doing it because I believed that staff time was better spent on the work of the party.

And, seriously? No job in a political party is a “plum”. It’s hard work, typically 24/7 (24/6 if you’re tough enough to take Sundays off), below market salaries, constant financial worries (even in the strongest of organizations), hellfire calls from outside and inside the party, constant shifting of priorities. You have to love it to be willing to do it.

39. Bob Barton says:

Please take a look at the Gwinnett County Dem Party record during Mike Berlon’s tenure as Chair and tell me why he was promoted to chair DPG

• Steve says:

Bob, please realize that people like Catherine and Juliana are largely responsible for Mike’s ascent to DPG Chair. I think when people who campaigned and worked hard for his election bring up concerns we should take them seriously.

• Billy says:

Looking back at Mike’s record in Gwinnett and what he did for the Democratic Party in general, I am not ashamed that I supported him for chair both times he ran. I am deeply saddened by what has transpired – actually, that is an understatement. I cannot express my true feelings in polite company, though.

(therapy through commenting)

40. State Committee Mem. (Ful) says:

Jules, whether it hurts or helps, remember, it was not Mike Berlon who put this out in the public for Republicans to laugh at. We can give Paige Gleason that “honor” and Catherine and I am sure others who stood at their backs and whispered in their ears. I hope Mike takes the high road; but, who would blame him if he didn’t.

I believe the State Committee has to grow some hair on its chest or enlarge some other parts of its anatomy; but there is no election scheduled at this time. Maybe taking our Executive Committee to task for letting this go public; and, in fact, encouraging it to go public , would be a good start. They may think they run the Party, but we all run the Party and it is time we started doing it.

• Just the Facts says:

Just the facts: the first person to speak to the press about any of this, was Mike Berlon.

• Jules says:

Ok, lets do that shall we..how about telling the Chairman start with showing up at the exec meeting he himself called on march 31st then “tentatively” move it to the 10th.

Oh that’s right it’s still “unconfirmed”.

Republicans were already laughing at us. We file disclosures, and frankly it’s not like it was ever really a secret about our finances.

• Jen B. says:

For the second time in this thread, her name is Page, not Paige.

• Jen B. says:

Again. It’s Page, not Paige.

• Ed says:

We should take a paige out of your book and get the name right.

• Ed says:

41. Billy says:

I wanna throw up

42. Mae says:

ps. Thurbert Baker won’t do it.

43. Mae says:

Can we nominate Buddy Darden to be our next Chair?

• Jules says:

I don’t think we are there yet. But I like former congressman Darden very much.

44. JonF says:

Um… What the fuck?

45. State Committee Mem. (Ful) says:

Be Fair, thank you for your comments. Sadly, we do have a history of savaging our own. Like the cartoon character, POGO, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” I appreciate your balanced approach. I disagree with your conclucsion, however. I believe that this is rather more insidious and not one jot less damaging even if it is business as usual in the Dems.

Catherine, dear, your venomous tongue has not served you well this time. I do not think you have won any significant points on this one, all you have done is drag the Democratic Party through the mud. In the end, people of fair mind and real Democratic passion will not look with favor on you.

By the way, when this mess started I wrote to Mike and had my say up front and personal. I have also had my say to him privately more than once. I just do not believe in flapping any potentially dirty laundry for everyone to see. Politics is devisive enough without that. I expressed my opinion regarding Gleasons stated reasons for resignation, the response of affilliate organizations, financial affairs and leadership in general. I have no desire to debate these issues with you personally as I do not think it would do one bit of good.

• Jules says:

soooo when Mike holds his presser tomorrow at 1 pm at the DPG, he’s doing what? Helping or hurting more?

46. Jules says:

Seems to me if the Chair had wanted this all to be discussed in private, he would have showed up at the meeting last week. Or dealt with the folks rightfully elected on the committee to tell us the truth about the finances well before now.

The odd denials and lack of transparency have been at issue for quite some time. I’m not sure why folks feel like keeping it locked in a closed room will solve anything but fuel more suspicion.

I think most of us have been quite consistent about our criticism of leadership that isn’t acting in the communities best interest.

Many of us worked very hard to push for change and gave mightily to the cause of this party, I think it would be very hypocritical of us to stay silent now.

47. CatherineAtlanta says:

State Committee Member (Ful), I’m glad that you’re concerned about this being aired in public. Do you mind if I inquire why you didn’t say any of this when Chairman Berlon spoke to the press earlier in the week? I lost my willingness to keep quiet after the suggestions he made regarding the former Executive Director in the Marietta paper yesterday.

I stand by what I wrote and would be happy to entertain a discussion with anyone. If you are a state committee member you have my number – feel free to call or email me!

• Steve says:

I will be honest in stating my concern in this regard as well. Chairman Berlon spoke with the AJC earlier in the week, and made some remarks I take issue with, for example that he had not communicated with Treasurer Russell Edwards in 14 months. I have seen them together on multiple occasions (such as the JJ Dinner), and have been made aware that they have been in the same room, discussing the affairs of the party, on many occasions.

I am not taking a specific stance right now, but Catherine brings up a legitimate point– that Chairman Berlon made the first move by making statements to Jim Galloway.

48. State Committee Member (Ful) says:

In your rush to rid yourself of Mike Berlon you have overstepped yourselves. The correct place to confront Mr. Berlon and air your objections was at the State Committee level, not in the public in full view of the Republican Party which must be laughing hysterically at our antics. You have taken it upon yourselves to make a public laughing stock of the Party, to by pass elected State Committee members and their right to speak in free assembly and to debate these issues. I can only wonder why you chose such an improper and unfortunate venue to vent your spleen. Whether you are right or wrong about Mr. Berlon, you are wrong in your methods and I wonder why you could not see that. Perhaps you did see it. Perhaps making a public mess and creating a void during a major campaign year is a power plan on yours or someone you intend to use to replace Mr. Berlon. Whatever it is, I suspect it is dirty politics at its worse.

49. "To be fair" says:

No one coronated Mike Berlon to be the king of the Democrats in Georgia.

He was elected chair with safeguards in place (i.e. bylaws) to supposedly protect against this type of egomaniacal behavior.

And it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks the bylaws SHOULD say.

It matters what they ACTUALLY say, a point you Berlon supporters will be adamant about when it comes to how many state committee members it takes to remove him from office.

I commend Catherine for having the courage to say these things publicly, and call bullshit on the Berlon supporters who say this should be private when Berlon himself has been the one giving Galloway all the info he’s been publishing.

• JD says:

The bylaws and charter are very vague… more to come…

50. MelGX says:

Thank you Catherine for standing up. I know this wasn’t an easy thing to do. You are the best Democrat I know and a true friend.

One of the things that should be in this letter that isn’t is that after he fired the professional fundraising staff, he replaced them with interns. Some reform. It will take years to fix this mess.

• JD says:

To be fair, it took years to create this mess. Berlon is kinda like Obama – he came into office to clean up a mess. Now, just as the Republicans are attacking Obama, people are attacking him for not cleaning up the mess quickly enough.

A lot of people are saying “I told you so” today, and they are right.

• Ed says:

Some of you might be wise to eventually start listening to me.

Just saying.

53. charity says:

You are awesome for standing up. I know firsthand how destructive he is. And people who don’t know anything and get their talking points from Mike should be concerned with finding out the truth. If they are such good Dems then they should stop encouraging the lack of transparency and not participate in sweeping facts under the rug. This isn’t the Mike Berlon Party of GA. He needs to resign because GA deserves better than egomaniacal leadership plagued by falsehoods.

• Ed says:

“GA deserves better”

Company woman!

54. Jules says:

What’s interesting in all this, at no time did I ever hear Mike say he was planning on being in charge of the day to day when he was running for chair.

Also, he has a “chief of staff” working for him. Although many might argue that was confusing from the very beginning.

55. Ed says:

“However, I disagree with you assertions. I think that Mike should be control, and have ultimate control, over the day-to-day operations of the party. The ED should work as the Chief-of-Staff.”

In literally every organization that is successful, the chair/president hands day-to-day opps to a chief of staff/ED. Also your concern about two many hands is avoided in these organizations because there is a general overview that the head does the big picture planning and the ED/CoS job is to implement those.

Just saying.

• JD says:

Ed,

In those organizations (say the White House for example), the President sets the big picture stuff and the COS implements them. If there is disagreement between the President and the COS – the President wins because he is the elected official and it is his administration. If the difference is bad enough, the COS resigns.

However, what should be noted, is that the President always wins. At no time does the COS ever overrule the president. The President can always overrule the COS if the disagrees with the COS.

I like Paige, I think she is great and works really hard. That said, she was not elected to lead the organization. She was hired to implement the policies of the Chair.

I believe most of this issues comes down to the organization structure of the DPG. It needs to be clarified before anyone can move forward.

• Ed says:

Dude, ANY organization… its not a complicated or new organization and it works. You’re making this much harder than anyone else knows it is.

• JD says:

Right, but the organization hasn’t been functioning well in 10 years – a sign of organizational stagnation and the need to innovate.

• Ed says:

nvm.

• JD says:

I mean, thats just my Master’s in Administration speaking – I’m sure that reviewing the organizational structure would be a bad idea because we shouldn’t update anything and keep it the way it is now.

• The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings says:

This is simple. DPG has a simple Non-Profit board structure.

The Executive Director works for the board not for the chair. So in DPG terms, the ED works for the executive committee not the chair. The executive committee hires and if necessary fires the ED not the chair.

It provides for checks and balances.

Which from the back and forth, it appears as if the executive board is asserting its bylaw mandated role.

• Jen B. says:

Just an FYI, her name is Page, not Paige.

• JD says:

Ooops. My bad. <3 you Page!

56. Tim says:

Very sad I must say, and Catherine, you never have to apologize for telling the truth.

57. JD says:

First, Catherine, I want to say thank you for being transparent. What you did takes a lot of guts and I’m glad you are willing to put yourself on the line for something you believe in.

However, I disagree with you assertions. I think that Mike should be control, and have ultimate control, over the day-to-day operations of the party. The ED should work as the Chief-of-Staff.

Moreover, I think that the Charter and Bylaws are largely unclear about what the responsibilities of the Chair and ED are. I know the ED has the authority to hire/fire people and deal with staffing issues – that said, I believe that many of the problems we see come from having two executives and two legislative branches. That is a lot of hands in the same pot, and we need to clarify what each of those hands needs to be doing.

Has Mike made mistakes – probably. I’m sure we could all look back and improve our behavior at times. However, I disagree with this idea that he is some type of power-hungry, ineffective tyrant who is going to destroy the party if he doesn’t resign. We need to be working together, not tearing each other down.

• Catherine says:

JD, I agree that we should be working together. However, that would require a willingness from Chairman Berlon to work with those who may disagree with him on some things and attempt to resolve those disagreements with compromise and understanding. A “my way or the highway” attitude will not get us to where we need to be.

I find the ByLaws to be very clear and quite well written pertaining to the role of the Chair and ED. There are other areas that are less clear and it’s my hope that the ByLaws will be addressed very soon for clarification on many things.

58. sndeak says:

This is an internal issue and I don’t believe anybody should be leaking anything to the press.

We’ve got the legislature in session, candidate recruitment going on and preparing for a Presidential race. That’s where my concern lies.

This petty internal bullshit takes us away from what needs to be done.

I make no bones about it, I stand firmly with Chairman Berlon here.

There is a process for this, take it to the executive cmte and the state comte at the next meeting. Don’t send emails making demands or go to the press.

At the end of the day, 99.997% of the people really don’t give a shit about any of this.

• aquariusrizing says:

From what I hear, it was Chair Berlon who leaked our minutes to Jim Galloway- I didn’t hear it from Jim- but as a pre-emptive strike against those who are calling for his resignation it ranks as one of the most selfish, horrible things I have EVER seen a chair do-. If he were really working in the best interest of the party, he would’ve thought about how those minutes made us look to our opponents, rather than how to justify his refusal to attend a mtg. of the Exec. Committee, just because he didn’t call it. Nikema is next in line- I don’t know how it shakes out any other way- calling in the DNC isn’t going to give the reins of the party back to someone who has enough experience to jerk us out of the realm of the inflated ego!

59. Houston says:

Thank you Catherine. We’ve all had good times and bad times in our political lives, but this has been the worst for me. I’m sure we’ll get through this somehow, but I too am heartbroken.

60. Catherine says:

Good point, Ed. I’m sure his number is available. Go for it!

• Ed says:

Yeah, I can do it probably tomorrow….

61. Jules says:

Thank you Catherine for your forthright declaration. I’m sure the next couple days will be filled with some very unpleasant attacks, I for one am glad to see some “transparency”.

I have a procedural question: Shouldn’t some neutral committee be formed immediately to assess the situation, and try to investigate all this mess?

Would they come from the SC body, or outside of the party? Even if the Chair resigns, it still seems like we’ve go serious trouble in river city.

Curious to know if anyone has been asking for that….

• Ed says:

Someone needs to call Michael J. stat.

• gette says:

There is probably enough blame to go around on all sides of this mess.The obvious choice is for someone to reach out to the National Democratic Party to bring one of their folks in here and take over. Georgia can still be a strategic player in this Presidential Election and with all the hard work that the individual counties have contributed it would be a real shame if the media whores who have compromised our abilities be allowed to reduce us to the sidelines.We have worked too damn hard!