Democratic Party to announce new executive director Wednesday

Democratic Party to announce new executive director Wednesday

A new executive director for the N.C. Democratic Party will be announced on Wednesday.

That’s the word chairman Randy Voller sent out at midday Monday in a news release. Voller provided a couple clues: The new executive director is a North Carolina native and “national leader.”

Read more from Under the Dome

I have sent emails to Casey Mann and to Micah Beasley at Democratic Headquarters, but no response received yet. My questions are about the question raised by N&O story and quote from member of the party's state Council questioning Voller's authority to fire the Executive Director without vote by Council.


Ben Chavis

Is the name everybody is talking about

Yes, WRAL has longer piece and names Chavis

WRAL has a long article online and one section is titled 'Chavis' history could be a concern'

Chavis and Voller are long-time friends, according to multiple sources. In January 2013, Chavis endorsed Voller's bid for party chairman.

Chavis is a civil rights leader and was a member of the Wilmington Ten, a group of young activists who were convicted in 1972 of the fire bombing of a grocery store but were later cleared of the charges and granted pardons by Gov. Bev Perdue.

He went on to be the director and CEO of the national NAACP, but his tenure there ended in 1994 amid controversy. As The Baltimore Sun reported at the time, Chavis agreed to pay $332,400 to avert a lawsuit by a former employee accusing him of sexual harassment "without telling his board or the NAACP general counsel."

Personally,I am more concerned that this has re-started internal party bickering and finger-pointing. This is from WRAL:

Voller and the activists settled their conflict in June. Among other things, Voller agreed to call an emergency Executive Council meeting if another vacancy in the executive director position arose and agreed to seek "advice and input from a broad cross-section" of the party.

[1st V-Chair Patsy] Keever said Monday afternoon that Voller had not called such a meeting.

"If he doesn't call it, there are officers who will call it," Keever said.

also this quote:

Voller's decision upset several Democratic Party officials as the filing period to run for office this year opened on Monday.

"The chairman made a unilateral decision on this without any kind of consultation," said Andy Ball, an elected official and the party's third vice chairman.

Both Ball and Keever said the party was focused on supporting U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan in her re-election bid and helping other Democrats in their election bids.

Martha Brock

What a freakin' mess

I don't know the story behind the story, and frankly, I don't want to know. But from out here, the whole saga looks like a monumental clusterfuck. Makes me sick and mad.

I know much of the story behind the story

I know it because I live in Raleigh, and I volunteer for the Party at the county and state level. Some of it you have to dig for. Some of it you just can't help trip over. And some of it just smacks you in the face and you have to wonder what staffer in their right mind pulls this shit and still expects to keep their job and get paid!

Some of it is a continuation of the coup attempts on David Parker and Randy Voller. That was - and continues to be - a monumental clusterfuck. It makes me sick and sad.

At times I wish I didn't know the story behind the story. But that ship has sailed. I know what I know. I don't want to be stuck dancing at the end of a string held by rich donors, with the strings guided by political consultants and electeds/candidates.

NCDP paid staff needs to know they work for the Party - not the running a money-laundering operation really run by the big money donors, consultants and top-ticket candidates. NCDP and County Party officers also need to know that they serve at the pleasure of the folks who vote for them - not just the rich donors.

And from what I have seen at NAACP rallies, conventions and training session, they run a pretty sophisticated operation. I'd like to see some of that sophistication used by the NCDP. I don't think the NAACP leaves money in the streets - NCDP shouldn't do that either. Even if some folks want to starve NCDP of resources as part of a plan to make NCDP less democratic.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

Mr. Telesca

... has in his pocket a list of traitors....

Sound familiar?

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

It is huge mess

The E.C. needs to reject all of it and ask for Robert's reinstatement. Period.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

Lawyer Burns

You do know that the ED serves at the pleasure of the Chair?

If you were employed "at will", do you really think you could keep your job and not get fired for being disrespectful and insubordinate?

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

He can fire, yes

But he can't hire without approval.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

It is a mess

And it's pissing me off, too.

I was going to post this in tomorrow's Twitter roundup, but I'll just do it here:

NC Democratic Party Plan of Organization Page 22


A full-time executive director shall be selected by the state chair with the approval of the state executive council to serve at the pleasure of the state chair. The performance of the executive director shall be subject to annual review by the state chair and the state executive council. The other staff of the state party shall be employed by and under the supervision of the executive director.

For those who disapprove of Voller's actions in this case, here's some friendly (and free) advice: words matter. At some time in the past, the SEC voted to include the phrase, "...serve at the pleasure of the state chair." into the PoO.

That language is not ambiguous, and it should come as no surprise when a Chair decides he (or she) no longer finds "pleasure" in the service of an ED and lets that person go.

It appears the Executive Council can (and maybe should) block the appointment of Chavis. But the firing? Don't see how anything short of amending the PoO could fix that.

Agree, Steve

I was a supporter of Randy Voller. Now I am questioning whether he understands that his promises of transparency and including input from party leaders mean something more than just words. I also question the political affect of hiring Ben Chavis. I can't see anything but possible pitfalls in that.

One person quoted by the N&O said it was great "because he is from NC." Well, he was FROM NC decades ago; and is that really a required criteria for a paid staffer?

I don't want to know all the petty details, but I do want to know more and I want to hear it from Randy Voller before Wednesday.

Martha Brock

I was a supporter too

In the early days, I thought Randy would bring some welcome change. Fast forward to now, however, and all this "change" looks like the wheels are falling off. Time for the Executive Committee to take decisive action, even if it means going without a leader for a while. Anything would better than this.

As I've said to the Democratic Party on many occasions, when you've lost me, you've really, really, really lost.

Sorry, Randy. There's no room for a bull in this china shop.


One person quoted by the N&O said it was great "because he is from NC." Well, he was FROM NC decades ago; and is that really a required criteria for a paid staffer?

It would be nice if a staffer was hired by the NCDP actually decided to make a commitment to our state. You know - register their car here and register to vote here in NC. I have seen and continue to see way too many "transients" working in our state.

I don't want to know all the petty details, but I do want to know more and I want to hear it from Randy Voller before Wednesday.

What makes you think that you need to know more than you already know about any personnel matter? This is the same as the Ortega matter - everyone wanted to know more and thought they had a right to know. But party rules also state that you can't break state and federal laws. Legal HR privacy rights trumps your right to know.

I've stated on this site and others that I have seen acts of disrespect and insubordination committed by NCDP staffers that should have resulted in their being fired on the spot. They'd have been fired from any other job if it hadn't been for some folks thinking these staffers are somehow "special" and deserve to have exceptions made for whatever they do.

I've been both a worker-bee and a supervisor. It sucks to fire someone or be fired, but if you aren't doing your job no matter how much time and effort your boss spends trying to work with you - it's time for you to go.

And I know that sometimes it can take a while to find out exactly why a certain person isn't working out at the job. Or that it takes time to attempt to change their behavior. But at some point in time you have to do things you'd rather not do - or maybe wish you had done sooner. But either way - there are only a few people who are entitled to have all the information. You and I and very few people on this site are entitled to that information according to the law. If you don't like the law - change it.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

Telesca, if you are going to call me out

try sticking to the facts and replying to what I actually said.

I am only now seeing your comment about (unnamed persons) on staff that you consider disrespectful. I have seen quotes and heard from others that Dempsey was a great staffer.

My opinion? You should get off your high horse and stop acting so superior to anyone who disagrees with you.

Martha Brock

Martha - you can't be seeing this only now

You and I talked at great length both last year and back in 2012 about the crap that folks saw at NCDP both when Parker was there and right after Voller took over.

And if you showed up to an SEC meeting - like the last two - and made the rounds you would hear LOTS of complaints from the grassroots. And they named names.

If you had attended the State Executive Council meeting in Charlotte on 2/1, you would have heard complaints from current District Chair Grace Galloway and former District Chair and former NCDP 1st Vice Chair Gwen Wilkins.

Many things happen that you are not aware of. Talk with people who might be aware of them before you go saying there were no complaints.

I am not acting superior - but it would be nice if we could talk without you calling me names. I am not calling you names.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting


I'm not a party insider ... all I see is what regular people see. And from "out here" it looks like a clusterfuck of gargantuan proportions, with plenty of blame to go around on all sides.

If I were on the Executive Committee, I think I'd clean house. If people want their jobs back, let 'em reapply.

Maybe there's some magical new momentum building somewhere in the party, but I'm now aware of it. The proof will be in recruiting candidates, which doesn't look like it's off to a stellar start either.

I don't know Chavis or anything about him other than what I've read online. Maybe he walks on water, but I kind of doubt it.

The first day of filing proves nothing!

It's not unusual for someone to wait till the last minute to file.

Many people do it because they don't know who else is going to file for the office they are interested in. So I don't put much stock in first day filings.

And yes there is magical momentum building in the party. It's not new - it's an extension of what Jerry Meek started in 2005. What stumbled from 2009-2011, and got picked up again by David Parker and is being continued by Randy Voller.

It's reforming the Democratic Party. It's taking the Party back from the big money donors and the overpaid campaign consultants. We already know that the big money donors don't respect the democratic process within the Party. Democracy isn't pretty, and yes we know we want to keep Democratic control of the US Senate. But we also need to take back our Party.

We talk about how the Koch Brothers control ALEC, the Tea Party and the Republican Party. Why do we tolerate control of the Democratic Party by big donors?

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

You want proof that big money donors have control of NCDP now?

They don't have that control now - especially today.

Do you really think that big money Democratic donors don't want control of the Party in exchange for their donations? Geeze - why do you think that the transactional donors moved over to the Republicans after 2010?

And why do you think that progressives and the NAACP started up HK on J 8 years ago? It was because they were tired of having to go to the Democratic-controlled General Assembly and beg for three or four progressive changes every year.

Have you looked at the NCDP Platform? If so - ask yourself why so many important parts of the platform never made it into public policy. Like collective bargaining. Why do you think the NCGA never made collective bargaining legal in NC when Democrats controlled the GA?

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

First day of filing

I agree with your point.

To the broader point issue of party momentum, all I can say is how it looks from out here on the sidelines, which is somewhere between uncertain and sketchy. Your view is much more informed (not being sarcastic) and I'd appreciate hearing what "taking back the party from big money donors" actually looks like.

Disclosure: I gave $5000 to the party last year.

Comms director resigns

The North Carolina Democratic Party’s communications director and spokesperson resigned this evening, following news today that the state party chair abruptly fired his executive director.

Micah Beasley announced his resignation, effective immediately, in a letter emailed to state party Chair Randy Voller shortly after 6 p.m. this evening.


Shit on a stick

I like Micah. I mean, I like a lot of people, and I'm sure a lot of other people like Micah. But he was (imo) one of the shining stars in the NCDP sky. This sucks. :(

Chavis the right guy here?

No one seems to be speaking to that.


The ED really isn't a position to lead a movement. Chavis is adept at leading protests and creating energy behind a big event. He has demonstrated no capacity for the kind of nitty-gritty political operation that the ED is really responsible for. Not the big event, but the daily grind. Ideally, the ED is fairly anonymous.

His past statements and positions, including several which can only be fairly characterized as anti-Semitic, are highly problematic. This is not the time to hand the GOP a cudgel to beat us with.

I still haven't heard what Robert Dempsey did wrong other than not changing his license tag fast enough for Raleigh native (not) Chris Telesca and using the NC Democratic Party apparatus to support our sitting Democratic Senator, who is the lynchpin to the continued Democratic majority in the Senate.

By the way, in his settlement with me and others, Mr. Voller committed himself to reelect Kay Hagan. I do not understand why trying to get that done was a firing offense.

Voller does have the authority to fire. He cannot hire without the approval of the EC. The EC would be crazy to approve this hire. Reinstate Robert Dempsey and let's get on with winning elections.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

I can't believe this

It really says something about the state of the Democratic Party when, on the same weekend that the NAACP organizes the largest march since Selma to Montgomery in 1965, the Democratic Party devolves into such a mess with its leadership.

They can fret all they want to about the money and "big" races, like Hagan, and their little internal power games in Raleigh, but we're not going to take back the legislature without a party organization that has a laser focus on every county and every race in North Carolina.

This is fiddling while Rome burns.

most of the staff

could have cared less about party organization.

Party organization at the precinct and county level means that campaigns don't have to spend as much money to reach voters. That means fewer jobs and less money for the campaign staffers. Who are either past or future party staffers - the door revolves between campaigns and the party quite frequently.

Party officers can and have asked party staffers to do certain things to get better organized, but what do you do when the staffers refuse to do what you ask them to do?

What do you do when you are a party officer and demand transparency in the way the staffers do their jobs - and they refuse to work in a transparent manner? What do you do if you ask the staffers to give you information or access to information - and they refuse?

There are several people who wanted more housecleaning done MONTHS ago, when it appeared as though NCDP was turning into nothing more than the Raleigh office for Kay Hagan's campaign.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

Keep it clean, guys

Thank you.

Everybody here is committed to the same big picture, I hope.

apparently not

Reelecting Kay Hagan seems to be a firing offense.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

I thought I had a penchant for hyperbole

But you've bested me here. Good show.

I don't support employees going rogue, even in support of a purportedly good cause, which seems to be the case here.

I say "purportedly" because I am not a Hagan supporter. I worked like hell to get her elected last time, and have been constantly disappointed by her actions. Of course she'd be better than whatever Republican gets nominated, but mostly by virtue of the D beside her name. I'm putting my energies and money elsewhere.

Don't know what happens at Democratic Party headquarters, but

I went there looking for something a couple of months ago, anid the whole buidling was deserted during normal business hours except for the 3rd floor. It was fully occupied by young folks making calls for Kay Hagan.

Martha Brock

But they probably weren't NCDP staff, right?

My understanding (which admittedly may be wrong) is that Goodwin House is a shared resource, which individual campaigns can utilize space/time permitting. I've been to a couple of campaign fundraisers there, but I've never been up to the third floor.

Can't answer that, but I know

that the second floor was vacant and the ED had a note on his door wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, but no notice of when he would return. Seemed not to be very businesslike to me.

It appeared that the crowd on third floor were all Hagan's campaign staff, but I did not ask. I did ask where all the NCDP staff were and was told they did not know.

Martha Brock