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12 July 2013

Mary Squires Accuses Acting Democratic Party Chair of Incompetence and Obstruction

Mary Squires, candidate for chairman of the Georgia Democratic Party, is angry.

In an email exchange with acting state Democratic Party chair Nikema Williams, Squires accused Williams of making multiple mistakes in organizing and conducting the special election to pick a new party leader.

Squires says Williams violated the Georgia Democratic Party's rules when she scheduled the chair election for 31 August 2013. Squires also says no location for the election meeting has been announced, "hindering State Committee members from making plans to attend the election."

"Considering the wide array of mistakes that have been made by the acting Chair as relates to the election for Chair, I can only come to one of two conclusions: the acting Chair is incompetent or there has been a decision to obstruct the election for Chair," Squires writes in her email to Williams. "Neither of these options is acceptable. I will hope that those of you who are in a position to guide this election will please assist those who would hope to run in an open and honest election for Chair."

Acting state Democratic Party chair Nikema Williams, in response, called Squires allegations a "gross mischaracterization."

"I assure you that everything has been done in a very fair and transparent manner," Williams said. " I can rest assured that there has been nothing done wrong and everything has been quite transparent in all actions and decisions that have been made since I assumed the role of Acting chair on June 10, 2013."

Georgia Unfiltered has obtained copies of the email exchange between Mary Squires and Nikema Williams. They can be seen below, unedited and unfiltered.

From: Mary H. Squires
To: Nikema Williams
Cc: Laverne Gaskins; Mike Jablonski; Steve Perkins

Sent: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 10:11 AM

Subject: List of State Committee Members

Dear Nikema,

I have noticed that the list of State Committee Members posted online is not only continuously inaccurate but that the latest list has removed people who are actually on the State Committee, and deleted their contact information. This is not in the spirit of open and honest Party conduct prescribed by the Charter.

By the end of the day, please email to me or post online for all to see the list of all the State Committee members, their positions, and their corresponding contact information.

Thank you,

Mary H. Squires


On Wed, Jul 10, 2013 at 11:41 AM, Steve Perkins wrote:

Mary I am aware of no inaccuracy in the list provided on the website. Can you please clarify.

The membership listing has always included contact numbers and emails. I do not know the reason they have been removed during the election cycle. Because there is no statutory requirement that any of the information be provided to the public at large, I have to defer to the Acting Chair on this.

All candidates whether declared or not should have equal access to this list and contact details at all times particularly if the list is in some state of flux. The members of the State Party ought to have full access to this information as well. I am sure some accommodation can be made either through the Party Secretary or perhaps a secure login function on the website.

Steve Perkins

Bylaws Chair


From: Mary H. Squires

To: Steve Perkins

Cc: Nikema Williams; Laverne Gaskins; Mike Jablonski

Sent: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 12:30 PM

Subject: Re: List of State Committee Members

Sure, I'll tell you what I have found. I have a spreadsheet of each iteration of the State Committee member list from the website. The first one was a left over from Mike's time as Chair and it was a few months behind by the time I downloaded it. There was an online update shortly after Mike's resignation with a few changes but was still missing people, for example, the Caucus Chairs, then finally there is this update dated July 2nd that has removed almost all Ex-officio State Committee members, the Caucus Chairs, some sundry regular members, and then there is a group of people who have appeared with no membership status listed and who, having not previously been on the list, show no contact information either.

Having the previous lists and contact information I have the advantage of possibly being able to reconstruct the data. Since the Chair position is still open there is the distinct appearance of an attempt to obstruct any others from entering the race and if they are not State Committee members from being able to get the signatures they need to enter the race.

Furthermore, the date of the election for Chair is outside the prescribed time required in the Bylaws for the Chair election. The latest date that the election can be held is August 28, 2013 (BL2.7.2) and cannot be held on August 31, 2013.

Additionally, during my calls and meeting with State Committee members, I have been told that even when the incorrect date was set for the election, that no location has been announced hindering State Committee members from making plans to attend the election.

Considering the wide array of mistakes that have been made by the acting Chair as relates to the election for Chair, I can only come to one of two conclusions: the acting Chair is incompetent or there has been a decision to obstruct the election for Chair.

Neither of these options is acceptable. I will hope that those of you who are in a position to guide this election will please assist those who would hope to run in an open and honest election for Chair. I ask for a factual and accurate decision on these matters to be made.

Thank you for your question.

Mary H. Squires


From: "Nikema Williams"

Date: Jul 10, 2013 2:44 PM

Subject: Re: List of State Committee Members

To: "Mary H. Squires", "Steve Perkins"

Cc: "Nikema Williams", "Laverne Gaskins", "Mike Jablonski", "Sarah Todd", "Fenika Miller, "Catherine Smith", "David Good", "Pat Pullar"

Ms. Squires,

I understand your concerns about the fairness of the election given your potential candidacy and moreover, we as democrats believe in an open and fair elections process at every level. However, to insinuate that I am incompetent or trying to obstruct the election for chair is a gross mischaracterization.

I assure you that everything has been done in a very fair and transparent manner. Any state committee member that was removed from a previous list was serving in an At-large, appointed position by the previous chair. Those appointments expired at the conclusion of the previous chairs term and have been reappointed. All of those members received notification on June 11th stating this, also allowing them the opportunity to request the desire to be reappointed.

I have since reappointed all At-large members, so yes, the list on the website has changed.

Additionally, any county party that has a vacancy has every right within their bylaws to hold an election to fill that vacancy and that again would change the composition of the state committee.

All contact information has been provided by the county party or individual member and unfortunately, sometimes the information is not accurate.

No one has been denied access to any information that has requested it, I have no record of any such request from Ms. Squires.

As you are aware, the election notice was reissued to open the process to all individuals seeking to run for chair. With the new election notice, the date was extended for all candidate intent to run notices to give everyone, including those who had recently been allowed to enter the race ample opportunity to collect signatures and campaign for the position of chair. According to guidance from DPG General Counsel, the time limits in the bylaws do not create a possibility of a challenge because the only remedy would be a new election and a new election would be even later.

You are correct that no location has been announced to date. I'm sure you have heard about the financial state of the party, leading to the need of a free meeting location to accommodate our needs. A location will be announced with ample notification to all state committee members and declared candidates. I have appointed an elections committee to handle all of the logistics, including the location, balloting and check in details and all other logistical details for the confirmed August 31, 2013 election for Chair.

The Election Committee is composed of the following individuals:

David Good, Douglas County

Fenika Miller, Houston County

Pat Pullar, Clayton County

Catherine Smith, Fulton County

Sarah Todd, Newton County

I have every confidence as evidenced by their past actions and combined years of service to our party that they will continue to move forward ensuring a fair, open and smooth elections process. They are all copied on this email and can answer any further questions that might arise about the logistics of the election.

There will always be the potential for protest with any party election. However, I can rest assured that there has been nothing done wrong and everything has been quite transparent in all actions and decisions that have been made since I assumed the role of Acting chair on June 10, 2013.

I appreciate your continued commitment as we work to move our party forward!

Nikema Williams

Interim Chair, Democratic Party of Georgia

Member, Democratic National Committee