Updated: TUESDAY MORNING, JAN. 6:
CONCORD – The bylaw amendment proposal that would pay the state Republican Party chairman a commission based on fundraising would actually have a resulted in an average annual payment of $53,395 over the past two years — not $91,000-a-year and not $36,000-a-year — according to NHGOP executive director Matt Mowers.
After the New Hampshire Journal was provided two sets of estimates that turned out to be inaccurate, Mowers confirmed Tuesday morning that under the 9 percent commission plan, NHGOP chair Jennifer Horn would have received:
_ $27,009 in 2013, based on party fundraising of $300, 110, and
_ $79,780 in 2014, based on party fundraising of $886,446.
The average of the two compensation figures is $53,395.
That represents 9 percent of the total funds raised directly by the party for its federal and state accounts, and does not include transfers from other national, state or local Republican committees, as specified under the proposed bylaw amendment.
Mark Vincent, the sponsor of the bylaw amendment proposal and incoming chairman of the Hillsborough County Republican Committee, said Tuesday morning that the $91,000-a-year figure, which he said he had received from party staff and reported Monday to the New Hampshire Journal and other media, included some money that had been transferred to the state party from a joint fundraising committee. And, it was noted, his proposal excludes from the calculation of the 9 percent commission any funds transferred to the party by outside sources, and counts only funds raised directly by the party.
Vincent said it was an honest mistake. He said he believed the accurate figure over the past two years was an average of $36,000-a-year. But Mowers, after calculating the number, further clarified, and provided the New Hampshire Journal with the figures reported above.
The numbers show that the proposal would provide the chairman with widely fluctuating compensation from year to year, since the party would always raise far more money in years in which there are major elections, such as a U.S. Senate race, than in years when there is no Senate race.
Meanwhile, Republican National Committeeman Steve Duprey said there was a lengthy “spirited discussion and a great difference of opinion” about the overall plan of paying the party chairman among the Executive Committee members at a meeting Monday night. But Duprey said the committee later voted narrowly to recommend that the full state committee adopt the proposal at its meeting on Saturday at Pinkerton Academy in Derry.
He said some members believe that the party should begin paying its chairman, while others, including him, believe “it works well with a volunteer.” But, Duprey said, the full state committee will have the final say.
“There was no personal axe to grind,” said Duprey. “This isn’t a discussion about Jennifer Horn, but it was a discussion about the best way to make the party more effective and therw as just an honest difference of opinion. Some felt this was something we need in order to be competitive, while others believe otherwise.”
(Our earlier report follows.)
MONDAY, JAN. 5:
CONCORD – The New Hampshire Republican State Committee on Saturday will be asked to consider a proposal to pay its chairman a commission based on the amount of contributions the party takes in.
The post has always been a volunteer position, unlike the state Democratic Party, which pays its chairman a salary.
The proposed payment is 9 percent of party fundraising, not including transfers from the national Republican Party, related national GOP committees or any state leadership PACs or committees.
According to the sponsor of the proposed bylaw amendment, incoming Hillsborough County Republican Chairman Mark Vincent, if his proposal had been in effect during the past two years, chair Jennifer Horn would have averaged $91,000-a-year in commission. That is based, he said, on party fund-raising in 2013 and 2014. (That figure was later revised substantially downward, to about $36,000-a-year.)
The proposal will be brought up at the annual meeting of the state committee, slated for Saturday at Pinkerton Academy in Derry. Horn is running for reelection, and at this point, no one has filed to run against her, vying to become the first chair to serve more than a single term since Steve Duprey, who left the post in 2001 after serving four terms. Nominations will be allowed to be taken from the floor of the meeting, however.
There are five other proposed bylaw amendments on tap for Saturday’s meeting: Addressing circumstances in which members of the state or city or county committees can be removed from the committees; forbidding state committee members from organizing opposition to Republican nominees; and reorganizing the structures and timing of the state party convention the role of delegates, and the county committees.
“There is no question that the position of Chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party is a full time job or more than a full-time job if you are going to do it right, just as it is in the Democratic Party,” said Vincent. “And over the past two years, I’ve watched Jennifer donate countless hours to this job.
“It is great that we have someone willing and able to donate that amount of time,” he said, “but moving forward, it limits the universe of people who are eligible, and I would not want to exclude people from consideration because they can’t afford it.”
Vincent’s proposal would first designate the Republican State Committee chairman “an independent contractor,” rather than an employee of the committee.
According to the proposal, the chairman would be committee would receive “standard travel reimbursements and 9 percent of all party fundraising, excluding any transfer from the Republican National Committee (RNC), the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), any New Hampshire County, City, or Town Republican Committee, and any transfer from a NH legislative leadership PAC or NH candidate committee.” The chair would be paid monthly.
The method of payment under the proposal would be different than the New Hampshire Democratic Party. After reviewing financial reports, it appears that Chairman Raymond Buckley is paid a straight salary independent of NHDP fundraising, since it has been a consistent amount over the course of several years.
Vincent, who also chairs the Amherst Republican Committee, said the concept of paying the NHGOP chair is not new. “This is something that the executive board and the state committee have been discussing for a number of years,” he said.
He said a proposal to pay the chairman a salary was voted down two years ago, “but the feedback during the meeting was that many members were not opposed to providing the chairman compensation. The problem was that the proposal did not include details on how the payment would be made. So this time we wanted to propose something with details.”
Vincent said that many members of the party’s executive committee and state committee discussed the proposal, “and we arrived at the commission-based compensation instead of salary based because there was a concern among some about providing a salary without any performance metrics. There would always be a question as to whether the chairman had earned the salary in any given month and we on the Executive Committee would spend our time talking about that, rather than talking about winning elections.
Vincent said $91,000-a-year “is a fair compensation for what that job entails,” and, he said, because of the details, “I think this has a better chance of passing than last year. We think we have a working majority on the (executive committee) and perhaps on the entire state committee.”
The proposal to pay the chairman also follows an open Facebook conversation among several key NHGOP activists following the November election, as first reported by the New Hampshire Journal. See that report here.
Other key proposals
Several of the other proposals to be considered on Saturday appear to be in reaction to the election of Speaker Shawn Jasper over GOP caucus nominee Rep. Bill O’Brien, with the help of the large majority – if not all – of the House Democratic caucus. Jasper was later censured by the NHGOP executive committee for opposing nominee O’Brien.
_ Merrimack County GOP Chair Bryan Gould has proposed an amendment allowing county and city committees to put into their own bylaws “the conditions under which a member of such committee may be removed for failure to attend meetings or other good cause.”
_ Nashua City GOP Chair Andrew Cernota proposed a bylaw amendment stating that state committee members should help recruit and elect GOP candidates and promote the “general welfare” of the Republican Party. His proposal says, “To that end, no member of the State Committee shall publicly support, or organize any effort for the election of, any opponent of the duly selected nominee of the Republican Party or any Republican legislative caucus for any elective office.”
_ Cernota also proposes giving the party chairman the power to suspend a member of the state committee if he or she determines that the member has violated other bylaws forbidding organizing support for “an opponent of the Republican Party’s nominee.” The proposal sets out a process for an appeal to the party Executive Committee.
_ And in a potentially major internal change, Gould also proposes an amendment that would consolidate the NHGOP state convention with one of the state committee annual meetings, resulting in two full (plenary) party meetings instead of three in each two-year biennium. The state convention would be held at the annual meeting in January in the year following a general election, such as this year, rather than in October of the election year.
The proposal also changes the makeup of the GOP state convention from elected delegates and party nominees to member of the state committee. Those state committee members would continue to be elected by delegates chosen during the Republican primary election in September every two years.
“There is widespread dissatisfaction within the party with respect to holding a convention between the primary and the general elections,” Gould told the New Hampshire Journal in an email. “It is a distraction for our nominees and can be a forum to air whatever differences we may have at a time when we need to be working together.
“The only argument I’ve heard for holding the convention in October of election years is that it enables the party to enact a set of principles in the platform that will serve as a guide for Republicans in the upcoming legislative session,” he wrote. “The proposed amendment would preserve this concept by holding the convention as soon after the election as is practical.”
Gould said the proposal would end confusion over whether delegates are entitled to attend annual state committee meetings. “The amendment would give the delegates and the party nominees only one role, and that would be to elect the NHRSC members at the county and city caucuses. The NHRSC members would make up both the convention and the annual meeting.”
_ Another proposal, by Manchester GOP Chair Tammy Simmons, would make changes to the county and city committee structures.
For all proposed by law amendments, click here.