February 10, 2010

What Happened at Last Night's No-Confidence Vote

Carroll Andrew Morse

Here is the Cliffs-Notes version of the no-confidence vote taken on Giovanni Cicione as State Republican Chairman, at last night's Republican State Central Committee meeting. Early in the evening, the Central Committee voted to reject the agenda (I'm not sure if that was intended to help the pro-closed primary folks or the anti closed primary folks). As a result, business was conducted according to a "generic" agenda, which includes committee reports. When the Chairmen's Caucus turn came, Charimen's Caucus Chairman Phil Hirons reported a resolution of no-confidence in the state chair that had been passed by his committee (comprised of the city and town chairs) and called for a vote on it.

Since Chariman Cicione himself was the subject of the resolution, he chose to turn the running of the meeting over to 1st Vice-Chair Nancy Richmond...

There were speakers for and against the resolution. Much of the discussion went to the issue of the process of deciding on closing the Republican primary in RI, which had played a large role in motivating the no-confidence resolution...1st-Vice Chair Richmond said that she'd like to call the question. Some voices in crowd objected, saying that the chair couldn't be the one to do that. Others motioned for the question to be called. Somehow the result was two more speakers...A motion to call the question was then offered, and the vote was taken.

In the end, the no-confidence resolution was rejected by a vote of 48-75. Chairman Cicione concluded formal consideration of the matter by offering a message of conciliation.

Later in the evening, the change to the by-laws which would close the primary was given its first reading. However, because of a provision in Rhode Island state law regarding lead-time for rules changes that would affect a primary, and because the next scheduled meeting of the state central committee where a by-law change can be voted on is not until April, closing of the primary cannot take effect in time for the 2010 primary, under laws and procedures currently in effect.

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Finally the RIGOP is showing some life. It needs a new leader, someone who can unite this energy, focus on the Democrats, and rope in many of the tea party activists. Cicione should resign.

Posted by: mikeinri at February 10, 2010 10:50 AM

I don't think the outcome would have been any different, but I do think the vote was a lot closer than what the two close allies of Gio who did the counting, came up with.

I counted the AYEs twice and got 57 and 58. I counted the NAYs once and got 63.

While my vantage point from one spot in the room was not as good as if I had moved around like Ms. Vargas and Mr. Coupe. I counted carefully and doubt I could have erroneously counted an additional 10 or 11 hands.

Something as important as that should have been done by secret ballot. I'll bet many of the NAY's would have voted AYE if it were't for peer pressure.

Card-check anyone?

Posted by: George at February 10, 2010 11:19 AM

Agreed, George. There was no integrity to the vote-counting process.

I hope that a By-Laws committee will be created at the next meeting. The integrity of votes is only one of a half-dozen issues that need resolution.

Posted by: BobN at February 10, 2010 12:26 PM

Last night was my first visit to a central committee meeting. I have to say, I am not impressed with the shape the RI GOP is in. The party in my opinion is dis-functional at best. How this group expects to win in November and beyond is a mystery. If the R.I. Republican Party thinks it can win by following the national party model which gave us John McCain as the best hope to win, they will surely lose.
There is the conservative movement which comes from the grass roots and there is progressive agenda handed down from the national GOP. You make the choice on where you stand. As for me, for my family's future I choose freedom, I choose to live by what so many before us knew to be right. Those who would sacrifice their lives to defend our God given rights.
So keep in-fighting with each other and taking your marching orders from the establishment that has nothing to lose. At the end of the day it will be all of us that lose.

Posted by: Christopher Kairnes at February 10, 2010 12:42 PM

Boy, Chris, do we ever see the same thing differently! I didn't see in-fighting, and I didn't see anyone taking marching orders, at least not until there was a fair debate followed by a vote. I think it is very healthy to have open debate on controversial issues. It sure beats having the "elites" tell the drones of their political machine what to think, say and do.

One of the highest purposes of such meetings is to do exactly what was done last night. I have some objections to some details of the proceedings, but overall it was a proud moment for the party.

And I can tell that if the view of my group prevails on the Platform Committee, it will not be on the John McCain model.

Doesn't the "freedom" of which we speak include the right to openly debate, decide the issue in a fair process, and then move forward together?

Posted by: b at February 10, 2010 1:02 PM

"b" I think Chris's point had to do with Gio and Trillo trying to impress the crowd by dropping Michael Steele's name and talking about what the RNC wants.

We need to change the RNC from the grass-roots UP; not follow the clueless beltway types like lemmings.

I think both sides of this controversy agree that we need to come together. The question is whether we come together as a grass roots, freedom-driven organization, or do we stick to the failed "Northeast Republican" model.

Posted by: George at February 10, 2010 2:49 PM

...another thing! The by-laws should allow for a former chair to be expelled and banned for life for treason.

Bernie Jackvony contributed to the campaign of David Cicciline when one of the hardest working contributors to the RIGOP, Dave Talan was running as the Republican candidate for mayor of Providence.

Bernie Jackvony has openly declared his support for Lincoln Chafee, the guy who never had an ounce of Republican in him, yet who blames the Republican party of everything that's happened to his poor little self.

Bernie Jackvony has done more for the opponents and enemies of our party than he has ever accomplished for the party.

Prediction: if there is an open Republican primary, Jackvony will lead Chafee supporters to the polls in droves in September to vote for the Republican candidate who helps Chafee the most in November.

I am so sick of these phoneys. There has never been an emptier suit in politics.

Posted by: George at February 10, 2010 3:06 PM

I definitely thought the vote looked closer than 48 to 75. To me, I would have said something closer to 60-75 just looking at the hands. But I heard the counters were really checking the tags to make sure people were legit.

I just sent Gio an e-mail regarding the by-laws committee. I love legislating and constitutions. I was a political science major at Brown and my main focus was political theory aka governmental systems.

I definitely think the focus has to be on winning local races. We have a serious - repeat, serious - shot to do some (again this word) serious damage to the Democrats across the state and even at the Congressional level. I think calling for Gio's resignation is mistimed at best and wrong at worst.

The RI GOP has been horrible in general with putting volunteers to work and ignoring them.I contacted the RIGOP ad nauseum earlier last decade with no response.It was good for me to hear I wasn't the only one. Nonetheless, unless we can work together why should the state trust us and the candidates we put forward if we can't move beyond even this?

Posted by: Don Roach at February 10, 2010 3:38 PM

George nailed it. I am just sick of the definition of conservatism being re-defined by the same people who have put us into the mess we are in now. Conservatism in government has not been seen effectively since the early 80's. Even then principles were ignored values were shelved and the ever-growing government bureaucracies have reached deeper and deeper into all our lives.
I do agree that debate is healthy and I was there at O'Rourke's after the meeting and I witnessed composure from both sides.
I guess I'm just frustrated and my impatience is growing with the condition of our State. We will just have to see what happens in November.

Posted by: Christopher Kairnes at February 10, 2010 3:38 PM

"Organization: FRANK T CAPRIO
Donor: Jackvony, Bernard.
Type: Individual $1,000.00 11/19/2008"

"Organization: DAVID CICILLINE
Donor: Jackvony, Bernard.
Type: Individual $250.00 12/14/2009"

Is this the clown that they let speak last night?
Until jack@sses like this are not given a voice in the Republican party, expect to have only 5 Republican reps in the entire legislature.

It's funny how Carcieri stands up there, complaining about the fact that there are only 5 Republicans in the legislature. Am I the only one that didn't ask the glaring question - WTF have you been doing for 7 years to grow the party, governor???? He shows up every few years when it is politically convenient, stands up there weaving his tale of woe, complaining about the budget. Oh yeah - the budget that he signed?!?!? WTF is with that???

People, those chronicled above are exactly why the Republican party is a moribund island of misfit toys. Until those people are driven out of the party, expect nothing to change.

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at February 10, 2010 4:01 PM

If it is all going to blow up...whose leadership do you want that to happen under??

Posted by: ricon at February 10, 2010 5:15 PM

George wrote "While my vantage point from one spot in the room was not as good as if I had moved around..."

Translation - I could not count that well 'cause I was hiding in the corner behind Laffey!

The tough guys in the corner, with the double-dealer Dodenhoff, should welcome the hand vote. Now they knw who they can put the hit on next time...

I do agree about Jackvony, though he's gotta go!

Posted by: AdamAnt at February 10, 2010 5:54 PM

Let us not forget the thousands of dollars he contributed to that Liberal Linc Chaffee.

Posted by: David Davis at February 10, 2010 6:14 PM

AdamAnt, since you know where I was standing, you obviously know who I am. So why are you such a coward and won't offer your real name.

I'll stand in Laffey's corner any day. Contrast what he did for Cranston to what is happening to the city today. Measure Laffey has done for local City and Town committees and candidates throughout the state and compare that to how little your RINO heroes do.

Cranston is literally falling apart. Fung has borrowed a page from the Avedisian-Chafee-Traficante playbook: Appease the unions.

The cops sit around in parking lots all the time. Crime and valdalism is on the rise. The city workers do half-assed work and leave the city in a mess. There are huge potholes everywhere (much like Warwick) that have been around for years.

You call for help and get nothing but arguments. People who answer the phones are rude.

When Laffey was Mayor, the city was clean, the workers were accountable and the rainy day fund was healthy!

I'll stand with him any day.

Posted by: George at February 10, 2010 6:20 PM

As a former GOP member, Laffey supporter, and former Cranston resident, I have to take issue w/ your near canonization of Mayor Laffey. Yes, he came to Cranston at a dark financial time and yes, he was absolutely right in firing the crossing guards. But, remember how he restored the City to financial health. He raised property taxes - 3 times I think. He did commission the study on Cranston excessively large fire dept (relative to the City's size)but he did little with respect to the City's pension system. i believe he did 'move' new police (and firefighters to?) to the state pension system but he did little to address Cranston's unfunded pension liability. He did replenish the rainy day fund and improve it's bond rating too (after the unequivocally disastrous O'Leary era)but, again, he did this mostly bt raising property taxes and Cranston's property taxes are pretty high compared to other cities in the state. Look,I wish he'd run for Governor because I'd vote for him but honestly, his "they're not ready for me" approach is cheap IMO.

Posted by: Dave at February 10, 2010 8:10 PM


You are correct in that Laffey did raise taxes, initially via a supplemental
tax.  But, when you are bouncing payroll checks, how else do you get an
immediate infusion of money?  Keep in mind that O'Leary did not raise taxes
for 4 years.  When 90% of a municipality's budget is tied up in personnel
contracts that go up 3-5% each year, how do you not raise taxes at least
that amount, absent economic growth? You have to.  O'Leary did not.
Laffey's initial tax increases were O'Leary's.  Once Laffey had stopped the
hemorrahaging one year had no tax increase and then he actually reduced
taxes, a very inconvenient fact for those who like to lob the "all he did
was raise taxes" bomb.

O'Leary was also taking money out of the pension fund and using it for the
general fund.  In the private sector he would have gone to jail for doing
such a thing.

When Laffey came in, O'Leary depleted the fund to about, $8 million.  When
Laffey left it was about $49 million. Your assertion that he did nothing for
the unfunded liability is incorrect.  Laffey also left about $23 million in
the rainy day fund.  Since then, Napolitano and Fung have severely depleted
it, using it to balance their budgets, so they don't have to raise taxes as
much.  Funny, I never heard either of them thank Laffey.  Also, since '96,
all Cranston police and fire are in the state pension system.  It would be
nice if people would have their facts straight.  I am glad you would support
him, however.  I hope he runs. He is not afraid to make the unpopular

Posted by: Matt at February 10, 2010 9:53 PM

George, much like you I did use my real name - only part of it.

My issue is not w/Laffey and his impressive resume. Instead, it seems he has a knack for tunring things into a sideshow.

Napolitano said it best in the ProJo "We do realize that there is a point, where, if this continues — especially out in the public — they’re going to look at us and think we don’t have our act together." They do and we don't - and I think a large part of it goes back to this whole primary issue - and to Dodenhoff's call to Yorke...

I dont get John's motivation with that.

Sorry if I came of like a troll before but these distractions really bother me.

Maybe I'm just sore that I couldn't vote that night...

Posted by: AdamAnt at February 11, 2010 12:18 PM

An embarrassing circus!

Posted by: Tim at February 11, 2010 10:56 PM

Yes, Tim is was an embarrassing circus - especially when they brought in the clowns - Carcieri and Jackvony!

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at February 12, 2010 4:39 PM
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