Reports From Your SREC - Blog

Chairman Dickey’s Responses Regarding Pay

Chairman James Dickey was given these responses to the survey from SD 25 constituents and asked to answer their concerns. His answers are provided under each numbered question/comment:

ARGUMENTS AGAINST

 “I favor a salary for the RPT chairman but I believe that it should be set and accepted at the state convention by the delegates or at least be touched in the campaign for chair. In my opinion, the Chairman shouldn’t run for a volunteer position and then request a salary.”

RESPONSE: The Chairman isn’t “requesting a salary”. The Chair ran stating he could do the job on a volunteer basis, and indeed his fundraising results have been better than they have been in the past few years. The question before the board is whether or not the RPT needs dramatic change in results and plans based on what we have seen developing, and whether we can wait until just a few months before the next general election before doing anything about that.

  1. There is a paid executive director.   So we don’t need paid Chairman”

RESPONSE: The two positions are not the same. The Executive Director manages staff and operations. 

 The expectations of the State Party Chair are the following:

Grow the party—particularly in areas where we do not already have a strong base

Oversee the running of the primary statewide and support management of the primary in 254 counties

Oversee the operation of the biennial state convention

Supplement Republican candidates’ and county party general election efforts

Preside over SREC meetings

Maintain relationships in support of these endeavors

Fundraise in support of these endeavors

Help establish and lead strategic objectives for RPT

Represent RPT across Texas and nationally

Help ensure the Platform and Legislative Priorities are advanced by State and Federal officials

Saying we don’t need an ED if the Chair is paid is like saying we don’t need an accountant if the Chair is paid. The two decisions aren’t related.

  1. “In business, success is measured by profits. Question becomes: how did we profit in this election to consider a salary? I can only measure what happened here locally. Therefore, question is: How did Chairman Dickey help Bexar County re-elect candidates? If the outcome was good, consider payment. If the outcome was not good (and we know it wasn’t), there’s your answer. Additionally, let’s just say that Bexar County was an anomaly because Republicans did well state-wide.Don’t think so. Failed miserably there also. Why stop there with payment for him; no mention of vice chair salary. She’s full time & travels extensively. Vote is NO.”

RESPONSE: There is no mention of a Vice Chair salary because we should be and are evaluating what the Party needs going forward, not what any volunteer, including the Chair, invests as a volunteer. There are lots of great volunteers in the Party all over Texas in all sorts of roles. But the RPT should only spend money when and if it is necessary to get a better result for the RPT. That’s what we do when we use paid vs. volunteer block walkers, or paid vs. volunteer phone callers. It’s the same here. Can the RPT get more from a paid Chair or not, and if so, is it enough extra to be worth the cost? That’s the decision the SREC must make, knowing the challenges we will face in 2020 even if we do everything right between now and then.

 As for whether or not current performance builds confidence and has built profits:

 Every single statewide race was won in spite of over $130 million poured in by Democrats from across the country to keep that from happening. 

 The easiest measurement of a Chair’s performance is in funds raised, and with only 10 months of 2018 results in the books so far he’s already produced 35% more than the average funds raised in the entire year for the last 5 years. This year’s Victory effort, with over $4 million, was the biggest Victory effort in many years as well. Those funds went to help dozens of campaigns across the state. Most of those we won and some of those we lost, but in all cases we did better with them than we would have with less successful Victory and RPT efforts.

  1. “I oppose this until we quantify what we are getting for $140,000.  What is the measure of Mr. Dickey’s success?  A job description must be established and goals set, so we know if he did a good job.  Once the description and goals are set, then compensation, but how much compensation is appropriate?  This also needs to be quantified.  We need to win, but just throwing money at the problem as requested by Mr. Dickey is not the way to go.  Define the job, price the job, and establish goals for the job, then compensate the Chairman!”

RESPONSE: We agree. The Chair Duties / Job Requirements have already been defined. They are:

Grow the party particularly in areas where we do not already have a strong base

Oversee the running of the primary statewide and support management of the primary in 254 counties

Supplement Republican candidates and county party general election efforts

Preside over SREC meetings

Maintain relationships in support of these endeavors

Fundraise in support of these endeavors

Help establish and lead strategic objectives for RPT

Represent RPT across Texas and nationally

Help ensure the Platform and Legislative Priorities are advanced by State and Federal officials

 The biggest single goal – if we convert this to a paid position – is to raise an additional $3 million in funds during 2019. Even if he fell short of that goal by 80% – the payback would be 3x the investment. More importantly, those excess funds raised would have funded field staff efforts that all our candidates will need for 2020, including the President.

 There are multiple other goals that have been defined and will be discussed at this weekend’s meeting.

ARGUMENTS FOR:
  1. “Texas is the last bulwark of traditional conservatism. America without a conservative Texas would not exist as we know it today. It is imperative the RPT Chairman’s job should be a full time, 100% commitment. I fully endorse a fair salary for a full time Chairman. However I would advise salary/benefits should be overseen by an appointed committee not by the whole, political SREC body. The SREC members cannot, should not use inappropriate political influence over the chairman using his compensation as a political lever.”

RESPONSE: There is currently a proposal up for consideration at this meeting to require oversight of any Chair compensation by the Officials Committee, which is a mix of the 5 elected and 2 appointed members of the SREC, plus the Vice Chair and Chair (who’d of course recuse himself from vote on his own compensation). There are recommendations being considered to have a differently structured committee to do the evaluation. Each of them comes with pros and cons, and we’ll discuss those I’m sure.

  1. “Why would you cheap out on a position as critical as the state chairmanship? James Dickey is a great representative for the Republican Party and has proven he can perform. Find the money and pay the guy so he can go to bed at night feeling confident in his personal financial situation, thus allowing him to devote his full-time efforts to saving the Republican Party in Texas. And, by the way, find some more money and pay some top quality people to help him. In a high-stakes game, volunteer labor is worth exactly what you pay for it.”

RESPONSE: The decision here for the SREC is what’s in the RPT’s best interest. If we move forward with Chair compensation it’d be because of what the Party gets out of it, not what the Chair gets out of it. One of the big things we are considering is that if we do this we will do so because we believe it will lead to raising the funds to let us hire 15 field and engagement staff across the state to give us the best chance to help all our candidates in 2020, including the President. So we agree with you that hiring more help is a great idea, and changing the Chair position to a full time employee position is a major step that we believe would be necessary to make that happen. 

There are many great volunteers who have a fantastic impact on the Party. There are times, though, when being able to demand specific performance along specific goals is what the RPT needs instead. 

  1. “Texas is without dispute a pivotal state for the country and the advancement of conservative principles (for the sake of argument, I will assume all Republicans not only know but endorse the same).

As such, Texas should at all costs flex every ounce of muscle critical to not only retaining those principles but advancing or enlarging the tent pegs.  Thus, the job as done in the past is frankly only a portion of the job that should be done in the future or must be done to preserve liberty as defined both scripturally and constitutionally and not by a conqueror or other manipulator of truth.

 As responsible constituents of the conservative cause and its principles, it is not responsible to sit back and watch or expect someone (or a chairman in this case) to prepare the table so others (or ourselves) can be fed.

 The spirit of the question goes back to a well-founded principle of the covenant stipulation noted by Paul in 1 Cor. 9.9 and 1 Tim. 5:18 that works against the selfish motive for a man to take advantage of another man’s property.  

 In the interest of fairness and equity (to which we as conservatives subscribe) it is only right that compensation not only be given but unselfishly so or hilariously as in the spirit of cheerfulness in fair recognition that our chairman (whomever may they be) would be otherwise using their own property (time, toil, enterprise, ingenuity, effort, future prospects) to our benefit, namely liberty as we know it.

 To put it another way, it simply is not right to expect a chairman leading Texas with the stakes as high as they are to underwrite 100% of the cost of doing so on their own.   Frankly, no amount of compensation that I would expect to be given, or approved, would adequately compensate the cost. 

 We must look further to what is needed in the future and not to simply maintain status quo.  We must look to advancement and I see no prospect for expecting advancement without a total all out warlike effort to win if we don’t recognize we are in a war and wars cost money.

 I happily endorse the notion of the chair position being a paid position and not a stipend but that of which motivates Generals.”

RESPONSE: You are absolutely correct that we must look to what is needed in the future. The SREC must make our decision on the basis of what the RPT needs and making sure we choose the most responsible path towards those ends. We face significant challenges moving forward and have to decide if the approach we’ve had over the past decades is sufficient for the needs now and into the future.

 

ALTERNATIVE PROPOSAL:
  1. “Incentive based compensation based on fund raising not to exceed $200,000 per annum.”
    “The Chairman’s salary must be attached to money/donations brought in”
     “I want the alternative proposal of the salary being based on their fund raising efforts and not just a blanket salary.”
    “I like the alternate proposal of expenses plus a percentage of the funds rose to start, and then let delegates vote to amend at the state convention.”

RESPONSE: Expenses are and have been a given. The RPT has paid fundraisers a percentage of funds raised (usually 8-10%). That works out to between double and triple what has been proposed for the Chairman. 

 None of the other states that pay their Chairs do so as a percentage of funds raised out of concern for potential conflicts of interest. The bigger concern about any pay structured around fundraising is that it diminishes the focus on and importance of the other work the Chair needs to do well including leading the staff, building relationships with elected officials, and advocating Platform positions with the legislature.

 As for the approach of having the delegates at the state convention work out details: It took 3 hours of convention votes to recount a clear 70% victory this last convention. How many days more should we allocate for debate and votes to have the convention handle details on compensation for a single employee of the RPT? What budget items do the county / SD conventions handle for the county parties? This is precisely the kind of thing the EC is elected to handle. 

  1. “It should be based on some measurable goals plus a base amount.”

RESPONSE: Agreed. We are fleshing out the measurable goals in the Officials committee meeting on Friday.