Saturday, July 17, 2010

Incompetence & Malfeasance Continue To Reign In The Libertarian Party Of New York

Instead of viewing the State Committee of the Libertarian Party of New York as its Board of Directors with each member having fiduciary responsibilities, most of its current and former members continue to treat it as a private club where competence, getting proper financial breakdowns, having minutes and following the bylaws do not seem to matter.

Today, the New York affiliate of the Libertarian Party held another State Committee meeting. Brian DeMarzo, the elected Secretary, was not on the call nor did he submit minutes for the last meeting. In fact, State Committee meetings were held on April 24, 2010, June 6, 2010, and June 27, 2010 and no minutes have been submitted for any of those meeting. Mr. DeMarzo was also Secretary for the LPNY Convention held on April 24, 2010 and minutes for that convention have also not been uploaded. This is not simply an incompetence issue for Brian DeMarzo. The last LPNY Secretary, M Carling, did not submit minutes for any of the State Committee meetings held from December, 2009 through April, 2010 and no one on the State Committee, except former LPNY member Dr. Tom Stevens, ever raised this issue.

The LPNY Treasury is even in worse shape. Currently, Gary Treistman, the elected Treasurer, is still in the process of changing banks but that process has been on going since April 24, 2010. Knowing it took over 6 months to transfer signatures and pass codes during the last term of office, it was Dr. Tom Stevens, then State Representative for the Libertarian Party of Queens County, who made a motion at the State Committee meeting on April 24, 2010 requesting that this new transfer take place within 30 days. Mark Axinn, LPNY Chair, indicated that is not how he likes to do business and requested the language be changed to "as soon as possible". That motion passed but the former Treasurer is still handling aspects of the books and the new Treasurer has not gotten a proper breakdown of the money collected at the State Convention despite requests for such a breakdown that were made by Dr. Tom Stevens to both the Convention Committee and to the new Treasurer. Stevens also objected to the last State Committee authorizing funds for the Convention when it had not seen the contract signed on its behalf and did not know what the financial liability was for the state party.

Mark Axinn, LPNY Chair, also continues to treat voting procedures without a great degree of respect. His allowing voting on the "honor system" has led to a challenge of the nominating process that took place at the LPNY State Convention on April 24, 2010. Another example of that took place at the State Committee meeting held by teleconference on July 17, 2010. Gary Donoyan of Nassau County had come on the call but Blay Tarnoff, the Nassau County State Representative had not. Mr. Donoyan explicitly stated he was not a member of the State Committee. Mr. Tarnoff could have designated Mr. Donoyan to be the replacement State Representative for this meeting but he had not. Mark Axinn, LPNY Chair, announced that if Tarnoff failed to come onto the call, that he would let Donoyan vote for Nassau "just this one time". A similar situation occurred with respect to the State Representative for Suffolk County, who did not appear. Jim Harris, a Suffolk County member, was on the call. Mark Axinn, LPNY Chair, asked Harris if Michael Houze had designated him to be State Representative for the purposes of the call. Mr. Harris said "No, I have received no such authorization." Mark Axinn, then said to the entire State Committee, "I heard him say 'yes'. Did you all hear him say 'yes'?" It turned out Mr. Axinn didn't need either of these votes to make quorum, which was finally achieved 20 minutes into the meeting.

Dr. Tom Stevens, Political Director of the Libertarian Party of Queens County, said:

I was not on the State Committee teleconference call because I resigned my Life Membership in the Libertarian Party of New York after the State Committee suspended my membership for continuing to raise issues of professionalism and for asking questions I considered to be important to ask as part of my fiduciary responsibilities as a member of the State Committee, which I viewed as being the Board of Directors of the corporate entity we are.

I am certain my questions annoyed others who viewed the state party as more of a social club but I did and said what I thought was right. You can be sure that if I still served on the State Committee of the Libertarian Party of New York, that I would have objected to there not being regular minutes, not having a Treasurer's Report and to the effort to permit people to vote who had no authority to do so.

Dr. Tom Stevens is currently the Political Director of the Libertarian Party of Queens County and is the Founder of Libertarian Patriots of New York and Empire State Libertarians.

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