Last week, I pointed out that MCDCC has an unusually high number of members running for other offices this year, which raises potential conflict of interest concerns. In particular, running for office seems to make it difficult for MCDCC members to carry out their function to promote Democratic turnout and run the precinct organization in a neutral manner.
The post resulted in a lively online discussion involving both MCDCC members and candidates. Current MCDCC Chair Dave Kunes was kind enough to reply and send me his thoughts on these issues.
I think the maxim, “if you want something done ask a busy person,” applies here. Central committee members are unpaid volunteers with important responsibilities. While six members are seeking election to public office, many more of us are running for re-election. We all must balance our time between campaigning, official committee duties, work and family responsibilities. These demands are parallel to those of public officials who also campaign, work and raise families while continuing to hold public office. Committee members work all year doing planning, fundraising, recruiting and organizing. We currently have 348 assigned precinct volunteers and we do rely on them to provide poll coverage on Primary election day while most members are campaigning.
If there are concerns about Committee members not participating, I would advocate for more focused solutions. One proposal would be to alter the Committee’s current attendance policy that allows a member to miss up to a majority of meetings. Instead we could follow the lead of Montgomery County’s Boards and Commissions that have a much stricter attendance policy.
The MCDCC prohibits members and precinct officials from using party resources to materially benefit ANY partisan primary candidate, including themselves. However, we encourage all of our committee members, precinct officials and volunteers to participate in the primary process as individuals. We would take very seriously any complaint that a committee member has used Central Committee resources to benefit a primary candidate.
Seventh State has made a strong case for us to review and strengthen our policies on this not only for Central Committee members, but also for our club leaders, precinct officials, and staff. The Committee will discuss these issues at our membership meeting on Tuesday, February 13 starting at 7:30pm at the MCDCC office in Kensington. I’d encourage Seventh State and its readers to provide the committee feedback on any of these issues by using our contact form here: https://mcdcc.org/contact-us/.