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27 May 2013

ResignationWatch: The Process of Removing Georgia Democratic Party Chairman Mike Berlon from Office

Georgia Unfiltered is on resignation watch.

It has been three days since State Elections Board member David Worley, a former Democratic Party of Georgia chairman, called on current Georgia Democratic Party chairman Mike Berlon to resign his post.

Since then, former Democratic Party of Georgia treasurer Russell Edwards, who's rumored to have had his own issues with Berlon, posted the following tweet on Twitter:


Edwards is right. Mike Berlon faced calls to resign or be removed from office just last year. Yet, he weathered the storm and still remains in office. This time, however, seems to be different.

The state Democratic executive committee is scheduled to meet at Party HQ next week. According to media reports, David Worley plans on asking the executive committee to recommend the full Georgia state Democratic committee remove Berlon from office.

If the Democratic Party of Georgia's executive committee recommends removing Berlon from office, it would have to be for cause.

Party rules say, "Officers or members may be removed for cause by a 2/3 vote of the State Committee, provided there is a fifty percent quorum.

"Cause may include:
  • The endorsement of, support of, or contribution to a candidate of another party.
  • Failure to perform the designated duties of office.
  • Conduct or circumstances which reflect discredit or disrepute upon the Party.
  • Public disclaimer of Party affiliation.
  • Intentional misrepresentation of positions or policies of the Party.
  • Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude or which otherwise reflects discredit or disrepute upon the Party.
  • Any violation of these bylaws."
Berlon had his law license suspended and received a reprimand from the state Supreme Court. Any schmuck on the street would agree those two circumstances alone reflects discredit or disrepute upon the Party.

Berlon is the defendant in a civil suit alleging he failed to distribute nearly $1 million from a trust he created for a client. Former Georgia Democratic Party chairman David Worley told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Mike Berlon’s legal woes tarnish the party’s image and hamper its abilities to raise funds." Again, that goes back to conduct or circumstances which reflect discredit or disrepute upon the Party.

Based on what's been publicly reported by various media outlets, those seeking to remove Mike Berlon as Georgia Democratic Party chairman have him dead to rights on reflecting discredit or disrepute upon the Party. Those are the charges against Mike Berlon. He has engaged in conduct and created circumstances which reflect discredit or disrepute upon the Democratic Party of Georgia.

So the next step is a hearing before the full state Democratic committee.

Party rules say:

The person to be removed shall have the right to written notice, at least 10 days before a hearing on said charges before the full State Committee, of the reasons for removal and the names of all persons who will testify in support of the charges against him/her.

The person to be removed shall have the right to counsel and to present all witnesses, documents and arguments in support of his position.


In other words, there will be a trial, and the trial will be public unless the state Democratic committee votes to close its proceedings to the public.

After the hearing is concluded, it will take a two-thirds vote of the State Committee, provided there is a fifty percent quorum, to remove Mike Berlon from office.

It is estimated that there are 331 state Democratic committee members. A 50% quorum amounts to 166 bodies in the seats. If 166 state Democratic committee members are present, it takes 111 votes to remove Berlon from office.

That's the process, unless of course, Mike Berlon resigns. And we're watching closely for that to happen.