A few years back, the NCGOP’s Central Committee experienced problems with sensitive information about its inner deliberations leaking out to the public. After some discussion about alternative remedies, this small group of party operatives decided to self-impose a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) for all matters discussed within the Central Committee (CC). All members of this select group had to sign the NDA or be excluded from many important internal discussions.
Once should not fault a professional organization for seeking to safeguard its sensitive internal matters; things like hiring and firing decisions, salary negotiations, legal discussions with the attorney, etc. In fact, North Carolina state law identifies the topics that governmental staff can withhold from public disclosure, but that list is very limited. All else is subject to the state’s sunshine laws, and must be disclosed upon request. This begs the question, why allow the NCGOP central committee to hide all of its inner deliberations from party scrutiny, when the state encourages and promotes disclosure from its own staff?
By our Plan of Organization, all matters of policy, platform, and Plan of Organization are subject to the approval of the party’s much larger Executive Committee (ExCom); the committee that is supposed to be the governing body of the NCGOP. The ExCom has not authorized the use of an NDA at any level. In fact the ExCom still announces the dates of its meetings and publishes its agendas, minutes and other relevant documents. The CC does none of that, which causes party membership to be suspicious of the CC’s activities. Today, that suspicion is palpable. I do not know a single active member of the NCGOP, who is not a member of the CC, that isn’t suspicious of what this committee is doing. I know several former NCGOP activists who have left their party leadership roles (some who have left the party altogether) because of their disdain for the CC’s failure to disclose anything about their internal activities.
I appeal to the party faithful: we must dissolve the Central Committee’s NDA and compel the Chairman and his group to be much more transparent in widely disclosing its meeting dates and agendas, a summary of its deliberations and decisions, and full disclosure about which members voted which way on matters of importance to the party. Moreover, the Chairman and CC must be compelled to fully disclose the party’s budget and expenses for Executive Committee review and approval per the Plan of Organization. For several years this has not occurred. ExCom members are not allowed to see anything but the highest level of detail on this budget, but we have been asked to approve it each year. How else will we ever restore trust and confidence in the party’s leadership if the Chairman and CC refuse to be honest and forthcoming on their actions?
When I am elected NCGOP Chairman, I will demand immediate dissolution of the NDA. I will insist that back records be screened for sensitivity, and that all records no longer sensitive to public disclosure be made available to the party’s membership for review. To the limits of my authority, I will not allow future use of an NDA within the CC; rather, I will insist we be transparent in all of our deliberations and decision making. We will quickly and effectively inform the ExCom and the NCGOP body as a whole on all routine matters.
Learn more about Jim Womack here.