On October 3, Mike Berlon,Georgia Democratic Party Chair, released a press release after the first presidential debate between President Obama and Candidate Romney. At best it was poorly written and a barely literate retort sent to thousands of Democrats across the State. To be clear, while it may have been approved by Berlon, it was written by the State Party's 'Communication Director' which is more troubling still.
The Lumpkin County Democratic Party Chair, Mr Eugene Elander, who also happens to be a college professor of 53 years, published author and who has dedicated decades of his time and leadership to the Democratic party in three states, in an email penned quickly in a futile attempt to stave off well deserved criticism about our Party's ineptitude, offered suggested edit. His email was met with the most inappropriate and ungrateful response I have ever read from both the author of the release and Mike Berlon personally. No 'thank you for bringing these errors to our attention.' No 'Oops, clearly we were just giddy at the outcome of the event and still tipsy from drinking all night at Manuel's when we wrote this.' Instead he was insulted and dismissed.
The press release can be found HERE(no surprise if it has been corrected).
I felt strongly about what I have been seeing and hearing over the last year and this seemed to be the last straw for me and I thought I'd let the good Mr. Berlon know how I felt - so I sent him an email of my own.
sent October 5;
Mike - I did not run again this year for my Fulton County Post Seat because of this type of ridiculous infighting at the State Party level and I hold you accountable for the loss of good people, important resources and vital local and national support. Your failure in leadership is profound and this is only the most recent example. You have a reputation of hiring and keeping incompetent staff near you and driving off qualified and passionate party workers who express any dissenting opinions.
This response by you and Eric to Mr. Elander is totally inappropriate. He was trying to save you from complete embarrassment - to no avail and no appreciation. What Eric sent out to thousands of people was incompetent (especially for a Communications Director) and if you approved it, then so are you. Now the whole email exchange is public!
Your public disputes with your own party staff, and National party and Obama election leadership are debilitating to all Democratic party activity in the State and common opinion is that progress in this vital Presidential election is happening IN SPITE of the State party rather than with the Party's support and cooperation.
Vital Local and State elected officials overtly express to me their disdain for the current state of affairs with the State Party and with you in particular. You are widely seen as ineffective and combative rather than collaborative, as a result your effectiveness in your current role is extremely limited.
Agree or not with the outline of issues I have presented above, you cannot dispute the significant lack of confidence in your leadership and the loss of quality and committed staff and volunteers, like myself, due to your actions. Please consider removing yourself from leadership of our State Democratic Party as soon as possible, for the good of the Party.
"There is no such thing as being non-political. Just by making a decision to stay out of politics you are making the decision to allow others to shape politics and exert power over you. And if you are alienated from the current political system, then just by staying out of it you do nothing to change it, you simply entrench it." Joan Kirner at Women Into Power Conference, Adelaide, October 1994
This is the response from Mr Berlon;
Thanks very much for your email. Its clear that we disagree about many things but I respect your position.
The email exchange with Mr. Elander was private. If it has become public it had nothing to do with me.
We have had many email exchanges with Mr. Elander over the past several months.
I wish you well in your future endeavors. Thanks for your service.
PS-I have copied Eric Gray on this as well since you referred to him in your email.
So here starts my search for a new Leader that I can trust, believe in and follow. Here starts my campaign to find someone prepared to transform the State Party. Here I am begging someone to come Forward for Georgia. Here I plead with deposed, hard working and dedicated Democratic Party volunteers and humiliated staff to come forward and quit worrying about what the State Republicans will do with news that our party is disintegrating under Berlon's failure of leadership - psst...they already know! We can't wait 2 more years - we need to do this now.
Here is my promise - if you step Forward, I'll step with you. If you are ready to take back our State then I am ready to fight with you. And by the way....I know of an army that will join us.