Today, MDGOP Chairman Jim Pelura fired executive director, Justin Ready.
Chairman James Pelura III asked for Executive Director Justin Ready’s resignation Monday morning. Events coordinator April Rose tendered her resignation, according to Chris Cavey, the party’s first vice chairman.
The actions follow a series of events that have shook the party. House Minority Leader Anthony J. O’Donnell and House Minority Whip Christopher B. Shank wrote the party’s executive committee to rein in Pelura’s critical comments of Republican lawmakers.
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Then last week, Pelura suddenly canceled a candidate education forum scheduled for later this month.
Cavey said the executive committee, made up of 31 of the party’s top leaders, met last week.”There was no inkling of any personnel problems. No inkling of any pending firings. No inkling of anything,” Cavey said.
Why was Ready fired? We don’t know as Pelura hasn’t given a reason. The MDGOP Executive Board is hopping mad, and understandably so. Red Maryland has obtained a copy of the board’s email to the MD GOP Executive Committee demanding that Pelura set a meeting to explain his actions. The text of the email is recreated below.
Sent: Monday, July 06, 2009 3:39 PM
Subject: Chairman Pelura – ExecutiveCommittee
To the Members of the MDGOP Executive Committee:
Today the National Committeeman, National Committeewoman and all of the officers of the Maryland Republican Party unanimously voted to condemn the actions of Chairman Jim Pelura in his handling of personnel and party business. We are calling for a full accountability of these actions and/or his resignation.
It is our opinion, at minimum; an Executive Committee meeting should be called as soon as possible and allowable by our by-laws. If Chairman Pelura does not wish to call such a meeting to explain his decisions it is our hope that we as Executive Committee members invoke the by-law provision and have 2/3 of our Committee membership call such a meeting to discuss the current problems and recent firings at MDGOP.
We are a Party of accountability; at minimum our Chairman needs to be accountable to his fellow officers and Executive Committee for these actions. This accountability should be face-to-face, not by written letter, due to the sensitivity of dealing with personnel.
Last Monday evening, at our Officers meeting, none of these issues were discussed or brought forward by the Chairman. There was no consultation or discussion of a lurking or pending personnel problem. There was no discussion or resolution in solving our financial problems; nor was there discussion about a pending and abrupt cancellation of our candidate training/education program.
If we are to be viable as a Party in 2010 we need explanations on many other issues. We need to know the reasoning for the failure of the latest attempt in formulating a MDGOP Finance Committee and how we can solve that as a Party.
Your officer core does not wish to see the Party remain directionless these last months leading up to such an important election cycle. We hope you feel the same and will join with us in creating an actionable and accountable direction for MDGOP.
Please feel free to contact any of us.
Pelura responded by acceding to the board’s demand:
Sent: Monday, July 06, 2009 6:42 PM
Subject: Executive Committee Meeting
Members of the MDGOP Executive Committee and Executive Board;
At our last Executive Board meeting on June 29, 2009, it was announced that there would be an Executive Committee meeting on July 18, 2009 at 10am at MDGOP headquarters.
At that time the Board indicated that a later date would be more acceptable. However, in light of the recent events, the July 18 date is set as the next MDGOP Executive Committee meeting for the purpose of discussion of the recent termination of the Executive Director at MDGOP.
Rex will be sending out an official notification of this meeting.
See you then.
As always, I am available by phone at anytime.
We’ll see what happens on July 18.
This appears to be another in a long line of poor decisions by Pelura; the most recent, his criticism of Republican legislators, and assuming the role of policy maker. Here is a fairly damning portion of the aforementioned O’Donnell-Shank letter to the Executive Committee:
It is our political opinion, and the collective political experience and political influence of our caucus is substantial across the state, that the state party Chairman should focus on some very fundamental duties before he delves into the realm of policy making. For example, the Chairman should be focused on improving the fundraising performance of our state party. We are only six months away from a quadrennial statewide election year and his fundraising efforts are still focused on paying off debt the he has incurred over the last several years. Where are the resources for supporting a statewide coordinated election going to come from, especially over the next six months? Maybe he hopes someone in Washington will magically send us a bailout for the Maryland GOP. Another area where the Chairman should also be intensely focused on is voter registration. Where is our statewide strategy, not a local county strategy, but a statewide strategy for voter registration? What are the statewide plans, goals, and milestones for voter registration? The Chairman should also focus on coherent and consistent public communications that support the state party and its elected officials 100% of the time. He should not be sending out press releases slamming O’Malley for ignoring “Republican good faith proposals” when two days earlier he is quoted in the newspaper (again) where he criticizes Republican Legislators for “…not presenting alternative solutions …”. This is a bipolar and very destructive form of communications which hurts the credibility of our party and the Chairman, not to mention Republican elected officials. If the Chairman could master the three items above – there are many other fundamentals he could be focused on – but if he could just master these three items he will have done something he has heretofore failed to do. He has not adequately focused on these three fundamentals, because he is too distracted by undermining Republican elected officials and publicly criticizing what he clearly does not even understand. In our opinion, Dr. Pelura’s failure to do what he should be doing while wasting time and energy doing things he should not be doing has caused great harm to our party.
We are seeing a increasing backlash against the creeping collectivism of Martin O’Malley and Barack Obama. However, the MDGOP—and to a certain extent the RNC—doesn’t seem capable of providing a vessel to harness that nascent resistance into practical, winning politics. To do that we need a viable party with competent leadership able to articulate conservative principles and persuade those not necessarily disposed to those principles or their merits.
Dr. Pelura, who by all accounts is a fine person, hasn’t done that. I think its time for him to step down as party chairman. To paraphrase Cromwell, Pelura has sat too long for any good that he has done.