The Daily News recently reported that a group of GOP precinct chairs are trying to wrest control from duly elected Republican County Chair Carl Gustafson (“GOP chairs vote to wrest control from Gustafson,” The Daily News, Dec. 5).
What is unfortunate is that this group has a fundamental misunderstanding of what the Texas Election Code mandates in regard to the statutory duties of the county chair and the County Executive Committee.
Chapter 171 of the Texas Election Code is clear that the county chair is the presiding officer of the County Executive Committee. As such, the county chair is statutorily authorized to perform certain duties as outlined by the code.
Although the election code, Section 172.111, states that the County Executive Committee shall supervise the overall conduct of the election, this statute does not give some disaffected precinct chairs the legal authority to call meetings, appoint committees, amend bylaws, prepare a budget, enter into contracts, appoint a director or committee, to oversee the 2018 primary elections and set the Executive Committee agenda.
Yet, this is exactly what these dissidents have attempted to do. By forming their illegal “steering committee,” what the precinct chairs involved here have effectively created is a “primary committee,” which is designated by the Texas Election Code, Section 172.081, for the purpose of organizing party primary elections. Per the same section, the chair of that committee is also the county chair.
As county chair, Gustafson did not call the meeting, nor did he approve it because the petition submitted for it by the disaffected precinct chairs was faulty; he canceled the meeting and declared it “out of order.” Therefore, it is clear that any business conducted at the meeting was invalid.
Both the petition and the meeting were invalid for several reasons, but most notably because of the creation of a steering committee. As well, the proposed agenda included the appointment of a director to oversee the 2018 primary election, which is inconsistent with the election code, which statutorily gives those duties to the elected county chair.
In addition, the county GOP bylaws require that any special meeting be posted on the county GOP website for 15 days before the meeting, which the disaffected Precinct Chairs failed to do.
It is undoubtedly regrettable that some members of the Republican County Executive Committee have chosen to rebel against their leader, but even more regrettable is the fact that those precinct chairs involved in this farrago don’t even know the job that they have been elected to perform.