Monkey Business Update: Fletcher Hartsell & Cabarrus County

hartsellCan’t get your political shenanigans approved by being open, up front, and following the process?  Go the sneaky route.  That’s what has apparently happened on Jones Street regarding The Fletcher Hartsell clique’s efforts to stick it to the Tea Party in Cabarrus County.

The Tea Party has captured control of the county Republican Party’s leadership.  Hartsell is a big ol’ RINO.  You can see that there might be some conflict there.

We posted earlier about Hartsell’s efforts to use a local bill to change the rules to get his allies an early start on their terms on the county board of commissioners.   As a rule, local bills generally do not get consideration in the legislature if any member representing the affected areas objects to them.  Last time around, Reps. Larry Pittman and Carl Ford — who both represent Cabarrus County — objected to Hartsell’s ploy to change the rules to benefit his clique.

monkeyWell, it appears ol’ Fletcher has tried again.  House Bill 1218 became Session Law 2014-92 on August 1.   (Thom Tillis signed his name to it.)  The legislation started off in 2013 being about stripping supervision of the Monroe city attorney from the Monroe city manager.  *Mysteriously*, the legislation was amended in 2014 to include a provision that stripped the executive committee of the Cabarrus County GOP of its power to appoint replacements to political offices that become vacant mid-term.     shenan

This is an old trick I’ve talked about before.  Combine two disparate, controversial issues in one piece of legislation.  Half the chamber may not like half of the bill, but — if they vote against it — they don’t get the other provisions in the bill.

 But — a local bill containing two different issues affecting two different counties?  That certainly muddies the waters regarding professional courtesy (i.e., getting unanimous approval of all local legislators before approving the bill).

Meanwhile, we’re at the nineteen-month anniversary of the state board of elections promising an audit of questionable campaign finance practices by Hartsell.  At the time, we were promised a result in “a matter of weeks.”  And here we are — NINETEEN MONTHS later. (And then there was the mysterious behind-the-scenes effort in the state Senate — where Hartsell serves — to strip the budget of money for new investigators at the elections board.) 

Meet the new boss.  Same as the old boss? Will we get fooled again? 

11 thoughts on “Monkey Business Update: Fletcher Hartsell & Cabarrus County

  1. But Hartsell’s amendment failed, right? Maybe I’m reading the legislative history wrong, but the amended language relating to Cabarrus County did not make it into the final version of the bill. Someone correct me if I’m mistaken.

    1. You are mistaken. I think you are confusing two different bills by Fletcher. The first one was his attempt to stack the Cabarrus county commission temporarily. This one was rejected in the House and died in joint conference.

      His second bill involved the new rules for appointing Cabarrus county commission replacements. This was passed by big margins in the House & Senate, and signed by McCrory.

      1. Brant, thanks for clarification. You’re correct. It does clearly strike through Cabarrus County.

      2. Ok, after rereading the posted legislation, I see now where the final version of H1218 removed Cabarrus from the list of counties subject to 153A-27.1. Dave, you are correct that I conflated the two efforts by Sen. Hartsell.

        Mr. Clifton (or anyone familiar with Cabarrus politics), could you explain the practical application of now making vacancies on the Cabarrus Board of Commissioners subject to 153A-27 instead of 153A-27.1 since it appears the primary difference is that counties subject to 27.1 “shall appoint the person recommended by the county executive committee of the political party of which the commissioner being replaced was a member, if the party makes a recommendation within 30 days of the occurrence of the vacancy.”

        1. It is my understanding that Mr. Hartsell and his crew control the votes on the county board, while anti-Hartsell Tea Party folks control the county party. Change the law, and you give the final say to Hartsell’s friends on the board. This looks like a backdoor method for disarming grassroots activists who have worked hard and played by the rules.

          1. But this legislation only affects vacancies after Dec. 1, 2014, so this current controversy in Cabarrus may have spurred the change, but Hartsell and his supporters won’t benefit immediately it seems.

          2. Matters such as these are one reason for the existence of Section VII, Paragraph G of the NCGOP Program of Organization. By forcing local leadership into a neutral role in Republican primaries, the Establishment can by-pass local obstruction to their chosen candidates. Its one reason why political parties are becoming irrelevant and replaced by PACs.

          3. Mr. Rowell — it is a long run benefit for Team Hartsell. It takes power away from grassroots activists who dominate the party and puts it in the hands of the county’s political establishment.

            If it can be done in this county, it can be done in others. EVERYONE ought to be concerned about stuff like this.

  2. Fletcher Hartsell is a disgrace. That much is clear. Maybe the local party executive committee ought to go public with a demand that the State Board of Elections investigate Hartsell forthwith. The SBOE members are also big power politics game players and their stalling on the Hartsell investigation stinks of insider politics. Hartsell should be run out of office in disgrace. He is as anti-grassroots as they come.

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