Saturday, August 27, 2005

LNC Meeting Report: Miscellaneous and closing

State Chair Manual: New distributed some copies of the first draft State Chair Manual. It is designed to welcome new state chairs and give them some tools they need. The manual so far includes a welcome letter, current versions of the national Bylaws and LNC Policy Manual, submission guidelines for material intended for LP News, and standard forms for items such as membership renewal. Several LNC members had suggestions for additional useful material. New also reported that the states’ new ability to update their own pages on the national website is working well.

New Vision brochure unavailable: Squyres expressed concern that the “New Vision for America” brochure is out of stock and that it would cost $12,000 we don’t have for a minimal reprint run. Cory said the original artwork for that brochure is lost and would need to be recreated, adding more to the cost. The price of the brochure may have to be increased to cover these costs whenever we can reprint them.

Bylaws Committee: With the promotion of alternate Fred Collins, there were no more alternates named to the Bylaws Committee. Lark suggested new alternates be ranked by their previous non-negative vote totals. Dixon pointed out here were several ties in the last vote, so it was determined that the LNC would have a written ballot with each member voting for one of the top four candidates remaining.

Christy Welty of Iowa emerged as the first alternate with four votes. The remaining three candidates tied at three votes each with one vote for NOTA. A random process was then employed to order the other three alternates. The result was Phil Schmidt of Oregon as second alternate, Donny Ferguson of Virginia third, and Tony Wall of Tennessee fourth.

Also during the meeting, a motion was made by Nelson to encourage the Bylaws Committee to develop a proposal to eliminate Article 6, calling for an LP Program, which passed by a voice vote.

Badnarik for Congress: Alan Hacker of California addressed the committee with his new title of Campaign Manager for Michael Badnarik for US Congress in 2006 in Texas’ 10th district. Hacker is moving to Austin for the campaign, an office has already been established, and money is already being donated via Badnarik’s website.

Dixon lauded this as a big step forward for the party, for one of our Congressional campaigns to hire a high profile campaign manager from out of state. It may indeed be unprecedented in the history of the party. Hacker struck me as definitely up to the task, and capable and dedicated servant of Liberty who will live up to Dixon’s lofty praise.

Platform: Squyres reported that the platform reformatting project continues on schedule in advance of the Portland convention. Shane Cory has established a message board where anyone can review and give feedback to the committee’s work on each plank. Squyres would like to see approval of most of the reformatted planks in one motion at the convention. Feedback from the membership is needed to determine which ones are uncontroversial enough to be included in such a motion. Squyres also expressed concern that the platform reform ideas of the Libertarian Reform Caucus, which seek to moderate our positions to only what can be accomplished in the next four year election cycle, may derail the reformatting project.

LNCC: Carling reported that the Libertarian National Congressional Committee (LNCC) has not yet filed its articles of incorporation because they were waiting for one last incorporator to sign them. It was revealed that this incorporator is Lark, who said he had requested changes which probably have been made, and anticipated he would be able to sign them very soon. Nelson made a motion to suspend the LNC’s endorsement of the LNCC, for fear of competition for limited fundraising, which died for lack of a second. I’d like to reiterate my opinion that the LNCC, if successful, represents another significant step in the growth of the party. It is another activity pursued by our competition which we have not engaged in to date, and will allow us to seek new national donors to directly support strong local campaigns.

Audit: Carling reported that no one had yet been hired for the 2004 independent audit. He claimed that they were still waiting for the final financial statements for last year. Nelson replied that these had been distributed at the LNC meeting in February, and agreed to resend them to Carling.

Convention: Dixon said he was in the process of hiring a professional event planner to manage the convention. Lark is working with the Oregon LP, and Nelson is gathering information from the most recent convention. The meeting planner Dixon is considering is based in Seattle and would handle processing registrations and payments, marketing and similar operations at a cost of $3000 a month. Nelson pointed out there is no budget line yet for the convention. Staff had been asked to bring one to this meeting, but with Seehusen’s resignation this was not completed. Dixon said he would take responsibility for preparing this for the next meeting.

SPT Review: There was no review of the Strategic Plan (SPT) as was suggested at the previous meeting. Even before the resignation of Seehusen and the vote to abolish dues, both of which contributing to a full two day agenda, this item pretty much died due to a lack of interest. It is doubtful the LNC will take up any SPT review during this term.

Future meetings: The next meeting of the LNC will be November 11-12, 2005, at the Embassy Suites in Baltimore, near BWI airport. The following meeting will be March 11-12, 2006, at a location in south Florida to be determined. The last LNC meeting of the term will take place in Portland immediately before the convention in late June. There is also scheduled a conference call of the Executive Committee for Wednesday, September 21st. Also of note, the annual State Chairs Conference is scheduled for Phoenix, January 28-29, 2006.


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Anonymous phillies said...

"Squyres expressed concern that the “New Vision for America” brochure is out of stock and that it would cost $12,000 we don’t have for a minimal reprint run. Cory said the original artwork for that brochure is lost and would need to be recreated, adding more to the cost"

There does not appear to be even a minimal level of business operational skill associated with National Committee Operations. We have rather few operational activities. In the last year we have misplaced most of the party archives, apparently cannot find the intellectual work that lets us produce our own sales brochures, and as my report showed are not adhering to basic financial operating procedures. We are also in a financial crash state.

7:49 AM  
Anonymous famularo said...

" Cory said the original artwork for that brochure is lost and would need to be recreated, adding more to the cost"

This has happened to original artwork time and time again. The reason is that the LPHQ staff over tha last 10 years, at least, have never maintained a written procedure manual. They have been fund raisers and not managers.

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, John, you know that's only half true.

The real reason that archives have been lost was that the national chair elected in 2002 apparently wanted to eradicate all traces of legacy LP activities, documents, and practices that the Willis/Winter/Dasbach staff had any hand in creating.

Winter was professional enough that he would have left the original files (what you're calling "artwork") -- from which he created LP literature print orders -- on his LPHQ office computer.

If they are no longer there, it is because the 2002 chair and his hand-picked national director discarded the computers or wiped the hard drives in their belief that nothing Winter produced could possibly have had any value.

It's pretty obvious to most LP members that the production quality of LP materials have degraded steadily since the previous staff's departures.

You cannot blame staffers long gone for that degradation.

On a more basic level, the office staff at one time a lot better things to do than to create huge, voluminous Procedure Manuals that the following dynasty would never crack open, much less read.

A close read of the Minutes from the 2002-2004 period will make the chair's attitude towards the long-time staffers crystal clear.

10:15 PM  
Anonymous Carl said...

Regarding Squyres' concern that the Libertarian Reform Caucus may derail the reformatting effort: if so so be it. Reformatting the current platform is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. There is much in the existing language that is bad no matter where you put it.

Calling for zero taxes is to call for nearly zero votes. Calling for defaulting on the national debt is calling for our collapse as a nation. Calling for complete privatization of DOE is calling for private production of nuclear weapons (a DOE function). Calling for the elimination of the EPA is calling for replacing scientists with trial lawyers and Congress with 12 "random" jurors in a a class action lawsuit.

At Warren Wilson college last year there was a public forum on the politics of the day that was spearheaded by a local Libertarian student activist. It was a fair forum. The Libertarian table was the best table there.

But did we shine? Not exactly. Part of the forum was to have students read from the respective party platforms on several issues of concern to the audience. We stank up the place because of our platform.

The LRC is currently encouraging a format which not only focuses on near term goals, but also includes a "Benefits" section. The platform should be a sales document.

10:31 AM  
Anonymous famularo said...

Anonymous said;
"On a more basic level, the office staff at one time a lot better things to do than to create huge, voluminous Procedure Manuals that the following dynasty would never crack open, much less read."

Effective procedure manuals are not necessarily "huge and voluminous". Don Ernsberger and I created on for the LPHQ in 1989 and it was about 30 pages. Some functions were merely outlined while others were more detailed. Sone entries merely identified operations and user manuals produced by other entities such as for the mailing machine, the label printer and the FEC reporting requirements. The subsequent ED's resisted maintaining the manual and the subsequent LNC's never recognized the value of such a manual in reducing the time and cost of staff turn over.

With the high degree of staff turn over the LPHQ has experienced in the last 15 years, the absence of such a manual has cost the LP a few million dollars. "there is never enough time or money to do things right, but always enough to do things over".

Many potential donors will not give a dime to such an inefficient organization. Some older donore will continue to donate out of nostalgia, others will donate because they don't know much about the LPHQ operation.

6:13 PM  

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