Steve Frank’s Conflicts of Interest

I really tried to sit-out the email war today between George & Aaron Park v Steve Frank. However, the rhetoric has gotten to the point where I need to chime in again. Two issues surfaced today that deserve comment.

First, something I was aware of went public today in a big way. The Park brothers have been tracking the fact that Steve Frank is calling individuals to ask for their support in the upcoming CRA elections. It appears that Frank is working a list of delegates obtained by Bill Cardoza, the chairman of the Credentials Committee. This is based on two chunks of data: George Park didn’t provide the list to Mr. Frank and the persons contacted had requested to Cardoza that their names not be share with Frank.

The theory is that the only Board members with lists are Park and Cardoza. Park and Cardoza are both on the Credentials Committee. Cardoza is the Chair of the Committee. Park has the list due to his duties as Membership Secretary. Cardoza was going to work off info shared by Park but suddenly opted to request his own information. Cardoza has fumbled this task badly and kept requesting and countermanding information requests.

Please note that Cardoza has not called any meetings of the Credentials Committee and Cardoza is conveniently out of town for the next week on business. This leaves all the heavy lifting of the committee to be done at the last minute. Thus far, no materials have been shared with Committee members. They have not conducted any official business.

Many suspected Cardoza’s real task was to acquire lists for Frank to use to assist Celeste Greig. Some outside the Greig camp suspect that Frank would use data to find grounds to disenfranchise delegates using his powers on multiple committees related to the convention. Frank is on Bylaws, Credentials, and Rules Committees. He is also a candidate for one of the CRA Vice-President slots.

Is any besides me bothered by the obvious conflicts of interest bundled into Steve Frank? Frank can have his cake and eat it too. What a dream gig. He is both a candidate and a person able to select not only the people that can vote for him (Credentials); but the rules under which they can vote for him (Rules & Bylaws). He is not just a committee member but Chair of the Rules committee. One can’t help but utter the phrase, “Russian Election”.

Clearly the fact that Celeste Greig has to rely on Frank to fill three committee slots and be a candidate on her slate is proof the she either has a small bench of supporters or she needs Frank to keep his thumb on the scale to tilt things her way. You would think that a political operative of her vast experience would know to avoid such blatant conflicts of interest. Frank is reportedly an attorney and as such he knows to avoid such dilemmas.

The second issue today that is subtle but making a bigger splash is related to the Board vote on the Committee assignments mentioned above. Janine Heft, Corresponding Secretary, sent out a ballot for several committees that are related to the upcoming convention. These assignments were the choices made by Celeste Greig. The list was in the form of a consent calendar, it was up or down on the whole thing.

The vote via email provisions of the Bylaws require that a majority of Board members must vote or the motion is deemed to fail. As a result, many members purposely did not participate in hopes that this motion would be unsuccessful.

The rumor mill version of the voting was that with a day to go the measure was failing and the Greig team began calling in an attempt to get enough votes for the committee slate to be approved.

Heft reported that the measure had passed with 39 YES votes but what she never gives out is the size of the voting universe? How many people could have voted but didn’t? In this particular vote that is an important number. Yesterday Tom Hudson reported to me in the course of another discussion that the max size of the Board can be is 111. This number assumes that all 40 senate districts have both a director and deputy director.

Here are samples of this vote being discussed today.

Aaron Park

First off, in an email Steve Frank revealed that I did not vote on the convention committee appointments. The only way he could know that is if the corresponding secretary broke with her long-time policy of not revealing how board members voted on on-line board votes and told him.

Steve Frank

Aaron, what I said was you did not vote against me for the Credentials Committee.  The Secretary announced that the vote was 39-0—NO ONE VOTED AGAINST ME.  It does not take a rocket scientist to understand that.  Since no one voted against me, and you are a voting Board member, you could not have voted against me, since the vote was 39-0.

If the reports of lobbying for the vote had not happened, I think Park would have reacted differently to Frank’s comment. However, Aaron truly believes that since there were reports of members being lobbied to vote that Heft in fact did let someone know the vote was in trouble.

He wrote,

“…on the night of vote deadline I got two panicked emails from Celeste forwarded to me. She was demanding people from the board vote. The verbage in those emails indicated that less than a simple majority had voted on the appointments. Celeste could have only known that if she was given the information by someone who was tracking the votes.”

I don’t know what to make of this whole thing. I can see both points of view. I know that there is more information that has not been released publicly but I don’t see an upside to dragging Heft into the presidential sparring.