Monmouth County is blessed by terrific Republican elected officials at the State, County and local levels. Our GOP legislators, Freeholders, Mayors and Committeemen all work tirelessly on behalf of the residents and taxpayers of Monmouth County.
As we approach yet another Primary season without a set of By-Laws for the County Republican Organization, it’s time for those elected officials to put on their other hat, and act on behalf of rank and file Monmouth County Republicans. It’s time to publicly and privately pressure Chairman Oxley to adopt By-Laws.
The topic of By-Laws has been around since the days of Bill Dowd, who ran the County Committee with an iron fist. With his downfall, each subsequent “administration” has promised By-Laws and reform. Each subsequent administration has failed to do anything even remotely resembling adoption of By-Laws and reform.
Seeing the opportunity for abuse, the State Legislature enacted a requirement for By-Laws in 2009. The statute, NJSA 19:5-3.2 states as follows:
The members of the county committee of a political party shall adopt a constitution and bylaws, ensuring fundamental fairness and the rights of the members of the county committee in the governance of the county party. The constitution and bylaws of a county committee shall be posted and displayed on its Internet website, if the committee has a website. A county committee shall provide a copy of its constitution and bylaws to the county board of elections of the county, and the constitution and bylaws shall be posted and displayed on the county board’s Internet website, if the county board has a website. (emphasis added)
Did you catch that highlighted part? “ensuring fundamental fairness and the rights of the members of the county committee in the governance of the county party.” It seems that the Legislature wanted the County Committee involved in the governance of the county party.
Unfortunately, the statute failed to set a deadline for enactment, but it seems to me that almost two years is too long. Other GOP organizations in other Counties have managed to adopt By-Laws and operate under written standards. Only Monmouth County continues to be run as an Old Boy Network, where candidates are selected and policies made by a select few (or even a select one)
It is even more unfortunate that Senator Jennifer Beck and Assemblywoman Amy Handlin were sponsors of this law. Where are they now? What are the party leaders (and the legislators who passed this law) afraid of? Greater participation by motivated groups like the Tea Party will only strengthen the GOP. Shutting them out of the candidate selection process will only lead to contested Primaries and divisiveness. (See 6th Congressional District Primary, June 2010) If the Party is going to pick who “gets the line”, then it should pick who gets the line by the most open method possible. (Or really open it up and don’t give out the line, instead having truly “Open Primaries”)
I call on Monmouth County’s GOP Senators, Assemblymembers and Freeholders to pressure Chairman Joe to open up the process, adopt By-Laws and answer to the long neglected Party roots, the County Committee.