a note to Democrats in Panama, by Eric Jackson
Democrats Abroad Panama has an election pending. It’s unfolding under shrouds of secrecy and gag orders that have no basis in either the Panama country chapter’s bylaws or the global organization’s rules. The date has been pushed back and the leadership of the nominating committee has changed twice because I, as vice chair, interposed objections. That makes me the horrible bad guy. So be it.
Being disagreeable on occasion is part of law school indoctrination. It gets overdone.
A childhood trauma that left me with a dysfunctional instinct for trust that has been replaced with some mechanistic ways of looking at transactions. Years in Michigan politics let me see varieties of stuff that gets pulled. Out of that developing a highly functional sense of distrust, I came upon a clearly improper situation and alarm bells went off. As vice chair I was the sole voice to object. You just don’t turn a makeover of the DA Panama leadership to the former human resources director of history’s second-biggest Ponzi scheme, and along with that reach into a made-up rules hat to impose secrecy on the process. Especially when that swindle stole SEVEN BILLION DOLLARS, mostly from retirees, and our chapter here in Panama is mostly composed of retirees.
I objected and that person left, and I was ordered that because she is no longer with the organization it’s forbidden to talk about her. EXCUSE ME?!? Any lawyer who has done a few business fraud cases has heard versions of that. “(S)he doesn’t work here anymore. It’s not relevant.” Uh huh.
But this is about the leadership that, having been told the basic facts, insisted on putting us in that situation. And by the time the personnel change was made, a slate of nominees was in place. Whose members we’re are not allowed to know at this point. The original plan was not until nominations were irrevocably closed but my objections dislodged that procedure.
It may be that there is a really good slate in the making. Maybe not. Another “new rule” has been invented – a twist on the Global Democrats Abroad Code of Conduct that has zero to do with the actual rule, which has been egregiously violated this year. Can’t talk to any of the nominees to see if, after all, this is a person I might accept and support. I have already been chair, and don’t really want to be a Democrats Abroad version of a Latin American caudillo.
We need new leaders. Both the chair and I have had our health issues during this plague year. I’m going deaf but hope to see an audiologist to mitigate that problem. My suggestion to the chair before the process started was that we should both step back to be board members to ensure some continuity, but find a new crew. She had other ideas. I suspect that the slate that has not been revealed is in line with such other ideas. But I really don’t know.
We need an election, not an exclusionary arrangement. Tonight, just before midnight, is the deadline to submit your nomination of yourself of someone else to the nominating committee to PanamaDAnominations@gmail.com. If you don’t make the deadline, the nominating committee does not report your name or the other person’s name that you wanted to submit on the list. But after the list comes out, you might decide “Hey, I know that person and she’d be a good treasurer” and drop out; OR decide “THAT GUY?!?!? Running without opposition? I’LL run against HIM!” Or so on. And you will have a window of two weeks to drop out or jump in.
To vote or run in our April 28 election – ballots will be sent by email to all Democrats Abroad Panama members – you must join Democrats Abroad. Do that at https://www.democratsabroad.org/join.
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