Saturday, February 21, 2009

LCRP has bigger problem than lack of trust in Stainbrook

You can read about it in The Blade, at Glass City Jungle and at Swamp Bubbles.

I was going to talk about it last night on Eye On Toledo, but callers kept me busy on other matters during the Friday Free-For-All.

Here's the situation: The Lucas County Board of Elections decided to restructure the office and, in the process, a Republican employee was let go when her position was eliminated. She received a letter of recommendation in her file.

At some point, BOE member Lynn Olman had a conversation with GOP party chairman Jon Stainbrook. The conversation was recorded without Lynn's knowledge and parts of it were shared by Stainbrook with The Blade.

During the conversation, Olman explains that the employee 'was under performing.'

Stainbrook uses this statement as 'proof' that Olman has lied, which is supposed to support Stainbrook's continuing effort to get rid of Olman and his fellow Republican BOE member, Patrick Kriner.

Clear? (as mud, I'm sure...)

First, let me state the the conversation between Olman and Stainbrook was not over the phone. It was in person at the party headquarters. As stated elsewhere, Olman did not know he was being recorded, which is not against the law in Ohio, since the other party obviously was aware of the recording.

Party chairmen have unique relationships with their elected officials, candidates and representatives on boards. As a necessity, chairmen are often informed of facts and points that are not generally made public. This is to provide the chairman with details that may be relevant in other circumstances and to support the party's representatives in public statements, comments, etc.

Personnel issues of public bodies are not public. There are often details or concerns expressed during the executive sessions that would never be discussed publicly by the members of the body, but which might be shared in private/confidential discussions with a party chairman or another public official.

Olman, in treating Stainbrook as he has other party chairman, was not out of line in sharing aspects of the discussion which might have influenced the decision on restructuring. Stainbrook, however, was certainly out of line by making that private discussion a public matter.

As a result, numerous people have been harmed by this.

The former employee has now had a question raised about her performance, even though any official inquiry would show that her position was eliminated and she received a recommendation from the BOE.

Olman has been harmed by being called a liar, something that just about everyone who knows him would find hard to believe.

The Lucas County Republican Party has suffered. Despite his well-known penchant for recording conversations, Stainbrook has usually reserved such action for his personal situations. That he would extend such activity to the LCRP should come as no surprise, but it does - especially to people who would never even consider such behavior.

The Party has a chairman who, in order to advance his own personal grudge, has publicly embarrassed a former Republican BOE employee, a well-respected board member and himself. And he did so in the pages of the daily newspaper, certainly a media not known for its objectivity when it comes to the local party or Republicans in general.

And why did all this happen? Because Stainbrook wants a seat on the BOE and he wants to get rid of all the Republicans at the BOE. He has a grudge against them for offenses (real or imagined - it doesn't matter) and he never lets go of a grudge - ever.

Interestingly, the former BOE employee is one that Stainbrook has previously identified as being one of the people he'd like to get rid of. You'd think, considering his previous position on her employment, that he wouldn't be so upset by the reorganization. But he saw this as an opportunity to pursue his personal agenda against Olman - so that's what he did.

The most important thing for a chairman is the ability to earn trust. While many suspected the chairman could not be trusted, some were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. No candidate, elected official, board member, donor, volunteer, etc... can be assured of any degree of confidentiality with this man. While many would say you didn't have such confidence prior to this incident, the proof is now front and center on the pages of The Blade.

As a result, we have a chairman who is isolated from the Party, isolated from information and details that would help him do a better job, isolated from donations because people won't give to someone they don't trust, and probably isolated from state and national support as well.

But Stainbrook and his actions are not the biggest problem. The biggest problem the LCRP faces is this: who is willing and able to replace him?

5 comments:

2Bn11FA said...

Sounds like the Republicans in Lucas County are now the "C" team of the Democrat party. The question I have is how do you replace him? Didn't he create a coup of sorts to get the chairman position by stacking the committee with his friends & followers? How do you get them to see the damage done and repair it? It is like trying to get Obama supports to see the empty suit they elected.

Maggie Thurber said...

I'm not on the Central Committee so I wouldn't part of the vote, but if memory serves me, it wasn't that Stainbrook had stacked the committee with a majority of people who would support him - but that he had a majority who would actually show up and vote.

Many of the people were new to the party - and that's a good thing. But I cannot believe that all of them are forever tied to a particular chairman, especially if another candidate for that position could document the issues and make a case for election.

It would be a campaign - and considering Stainbrook's past behavior - a dirty one. But another chairman candidate could make a good case: the issues over the endorsement of levies, the questionable way votes are handled, the questionable notifications, the lack of fundraising, the coziness with the publisher of the Blade, the recording of conversations, the dissemination of private conversations, the lack of support from the state party and state candidates....

NO! I'm not interested! LOL!

Lisa Renee said...

Maggie, thank you for the additional information on this, I linked it as part of the discussion on the Jungle, I wrongly assumed that the conversation had taken place via phone given the past scenarios of phone conversations being recorded were well known in some circles but had not been confirmed by the media.

Knowing it took place at the actual headquarters and was felt to have been a private conversation, would appear to even increase the trust factor issue. I agree 100% that there are times when things are going to be discussed, no matter which party you are a member of, that are supposed to remain confidential.

I also agree with your summary and wonder what the Lucas County Republican Party will do about this...

DonMiller said...

The replacement of the Republican BOE directors is not just a grudge. In a conversation that I had with Stainbrook shortly after he took LCGOP chair position, his concern was that Lynn and Patrick didn't need the salary that is offered and that he had two candidates that could better use the salary and were more loyal to him. At the time, I was the Sylvania GOP chair, but I didn't record the conversation. Maybe, I could ask Stainbrook to provide the recording for us. The meeting took place at the old headquarters. :)

Maggie Thurber said...

Don - what an interesting discussion. I'm sure it's recorded somewhere for future use...

However, I also know that Stainbrook has told numerous people that the person who needs to be appointed to the BOE is ... HIM.

So with that well-known position added to your conversation, we now see that this is all about getting him an income and nothing to do with the skills, experience or best person for the job.

What a shame.

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