Last night, a fellow member of the Executive Council of the Libertarian Party of Volusia County tagged me on a FaceBook comment about the following. I contacted Marcos Miralles to double check that the message was from the Chair of the Libertarian Party of Florida.
Marcos Miralles’ email to me
This was, indeed, my post. I stand by my words. The Candidates Committee has had absolutely no activity in the last few months and following its report at our last EC meeting, I’ve decided to instruct my appointees to ignore the unreasonable regulations that were imposed in a political attempt to harm its work last year.We saw that in the first month of my administration, we had recruited more candidates than ever before in the history of the LPF. But the EC eventually voted to micromanage the process and slow it down considerably. Since then, the Committee has recruited ZERO candidates.As much as I understand that my job as Chairman is to enforce rules, it is also my job to make sure we have a party to begin with.So I am using my powers as Chair, which allow me to designate anyone at my own discretion to serve as spokesperson, to authorize our Candidates Committee to send e-mails, text messages, and letters to recruit candidates without having to go through an EC vote.
Here are my concerns with his post.
Facebook as posting medium
Facebook is a crappy place to post any announcements. Facebook can (and should) be used to augment other communications channels. Facebook can (and should) be used as an outreach tool. But for official communications? The Facebook NewsFeed algorithm is capricious at best, and there has been evidence that there is a bias against certain groups, libertarians among them. So posting to Facebook may not reach the audience you’re trying to reach. Assuming that you’re trying to reach a particular audience. (Not all members of the Libertarian Party of Florida’s Executive Committee are on FaceBook. Any postings made to FaceBook cannot be seen by those members.)
This wouldn’t be an issue if Mr. Miralles had sent an email to the Libertarian Party of Florida concerning his actions. There’s even a special email account set up to be forwarded to all the members of the Executive Committee, and to be automatically posted to the Libertarian Party of Florida’s web site. But he hasn’t. There is no mention of this in the official communication channel of the Libertarian Party of Florida.
It might not be an issue if he had posted to Slack, which is the channel used to facilitate discussion amount the Executive Committee members and several of the committees. (There are also channels set up in Slack for other groups of libertarians.). Again, there’s nothing there. Which leads me to the question of who he’s trying to communicate with. Apparently not the Executive Committee.
Timing of the message
This post (and probably the decision), was made on January 16th. The last Executive Committee meeting was two days earlier, on January 14th. There’s no evidence given as to how this is was emergency situation which came up after the last meeting. There is no reason why Mr. Miralles couldn’t amend the agenda of Sunday’s meeting, adding a motion to reverse the previous decision, or even merely to delay the implementation of the program until after the November elections in order to work out any kinks with the program without the time pressure of this year’s elections. There appear to be good arguments for that motion.
Yet Mr. Miralles decided to avoid the entire issue of working with the Executive Committee and chose to work by himself.
In fact, the entire message reeks of self aggrandizement. He was elected by the same people who elected the rest of the Executive Committee: the members of the Libertarian Party of Florida. (In my case I was recommended by the Libertarian Party of Volusia County’s Executive Council, and the appointed by Mr. Miralles with the approval of the Executive Council.) We are all trying to get libertarians organized and elected. But rather than working together as a team, Mr. Miralles appears to consider himself the savior of libertarianism in Florida.
From my short time on the Executive Committee, there does appear to be egos among several members of the Executive Committee. And at times it appears as if those egos get in the way of getting things done. But based on the post, it doesn’t appear that Mr. Miralles is exempt from suffering from excessive egotism. And that ego is getting in the way of getting things done as much as any other ego I’ve witnessed on the Executive Committee.
“Vote me out if you don’t like it”
According to the Bylaws, the role of the Chair is
The Chair shall be the head of the LPF, presiding over all meetings of the party, convention, and Executive Committee. The Chairperson is the official spokesperson for the LPF, subject to the dictates of the constituted authorities of the Executive Committee and Convention.
What I don’t see in this description is the ability to unilaterally overturn the decisions of the Executive Committee. I can’t find a specific section of the Governing Documents which allows for the recall of an officer for violating the Constitution, Bylaws, or Standing Rules of the Libertarian Party of Florida, but one thing I found in the Standing Rules is the following:
The Executive Committee, after review with the affiliate concerned, may, by a two thirds vote, suspend the affiliation of a county party, a member of the party, or an officer or director of the Executive Committee.
It may not be necessary to wait until the 2019 Annual Conference in order to “vote [him] out.” And if Mr. Miralles chooses to continue to ignore the decisions of the Executive Committee and act as if he is the sole authority in the party, it may become necessary to consider his suspension.
And in a similar fashion to recent discussions triggered by recent actions of the Vice-Chair of the Libertarian National Committee, perhaps a stronger and flexible recall provision should be added to the Governing Documents.
Concerns with his response
Your understanding of your role as Chairman does not match with the Governing Documents. While you may have concerns about the actions of the Executive Committee on the issue, that does not mean you are entitle to ignore them. Instead, what you should have done was to go back to the Executive Committee and demonstrate how the policies they implemented have harmed the party. Instead, you’ve decided to harm the party more.
Mr. Miralles, the next move is yours. Are you going to work with the team, abiding by decisions made by the Executive Committee, or are you going to go it your own way, as the One Man Libertarian Party of Florida? The tone set by the top of an organization is usually reflected by the organization as a whole. If you are unhappy with the tone of the organization, perhaps you should look in the mirror.