Amidst the endless parade of articles bemoaning the plight of poor businessfolk who can’t find enough workers to fill their low-paying, no-bennies jobs, let us take a moment to pour one out for the group that has by far the hardest time finding a few good people: The Vermont Republican Party.
You almost have to feel sorry for the VTGOP. They’re so underfinanced and disorganized, so out of touch and few in number, that their every ticket features a frightening quantity of blank slots. They’ll take almost anybody with a pulse who’s willing to step out in public with an “R” next to their name.
Two cases in point today. First, we have Christopher-Aaron Felker, the surprise entry into Burlington’s special election to fill the seat of former councilor Brian Pine. Second, Gov. Phil Scott’s latest nominee to the Vermont Commission on Women.
At its scheduled meeting Monday September 9, the Windham County Democratic Committee will consider a resolution calling for “a new slate of [party] officers” for the Vermont Democratic Party.
The resolution is signed by county chair John Hagen. It centers on the embezzlement case involving former party staffer Brandon Batham, who allegedly took more than $18,000 in state party funds through payroll fraud and excessive expense-account claims.
The resolution notes that the party’s Executive Committee “has the oversight and fiduciary responsibility to ensure accountability of all party funds,” and that the Batham case “may undermine future party fundraising efforts.” A change in leadership, it says, is necessary “in order to demonstrate a meaningful change for improved oversight and fiscal accountability.”
The VDP is undergoing its biennial reorganization this fall, including election of state officers on November 16. Current officers include chair Terje Anderson, vice chair Tess Taylor and treasurer Billi Gosh. They have yet to say if they plan to run for re-election, but have given no indication that they need to take any action besides promising to do better. “We will be doing everything possible to move beyond this very discouraging set of circumstances and to regain or retain your trust,” party leaders wrote in a memo to members following the revelation of the embezzlement.
The existence of the Windham resolution shows that some party members are unwilling to be satisfied with mere words. If the resolution is approved Monday, it could set the stage for a truly rocky reorganization process.
Or, perhaps, for the quiet departure of current leadership.