DPVA Chair Should Be a Full-Time Job

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    Proposition #1: The DPVA Chair job should be a serious, professional, full-time position. Obviously, people need to make a living, so the DPVA Chair should be compensated accordingly.  

    Proposition #2: Outside employment, aka a “day job,” could conflict in numerous ways – time commitment, ethics, appearance, etc. – with the duties of DPVA Chair. Again, this should be a full-time position that is fairly compensated.

    Proposition #3: Given the Democratic wipeouts of 2009 and 2010, as well as the challenges facing Virginia Democrats in 2011 (hold the Senate!), 2012 (win Virginia for Obama, Webb, and as many Congressional candidates as possible), 2013 (the governor’s race!) and beyond, we desperately need a chair who can devote his or her time and energies 24/7/365 to this job. That will involve traveling almost constantly around the Commonwealth, working to build up local Democratic committees, helping to identify and recruit the strongest possible candidates in as many districts as possible, crafting and disseminating a compelling Democratic narrative, and of course raising money.

    Your thoughts? Also, I invite the two candidates for DPVA chair, Brian Moran and Peter Rousselot, to respond in the comments section here whether they agree (or disagree) with the propositions listed above, and why. Thanks.

    • Dan Sullivan

      Sum it up.

      The situation is serious. The other guys are energized and organized. The DPVA is not. The next chairman should be focused on the DPVA and not about him or herself.

      A professional approach would mean a strategy that includes personal daily contact with subordinate committees, interest groups, and supporters (fundraising). It would also include a contact team or teams regularly visiting local committees on rotation, providing guidance on structure and advising on operational matters such as outreach and absentee voting.

      Full time would mean joining these contact teams, at least for the out-brief to the local chairpersons.

    • Demosthenes

      I’m just too curious: What does everyone think that this position should pay?

    • Tom

      In many ways the paid Executive Director performs some of the most critical functions of the unpaid Chair because the chair isn’t a full-time employee and can’t always afford to execute all the duties his position requires. But yet, the Chair is the de facto “Chief Executive” of the DPVA, the main differences being that the Chair is elected, not appointed and the Chair is unpaid. Why not make it official, use the money that now goes to the Chair’s paid assistant to pay the Chair and eliminate what would then become an unnecessary paid staff position. I’m not saying the Chair shouldn’t have paid assistants, just that we don’t need two people performing the same executive leadership functions.

      To carry this theme down to the county level, there are a couple of county committees (I think including Fairfax County)that had to hire a paid Executive Director simply because the elected unpaid Chair needed help with all the By-Laws assigned chairmanship duties. I’m not suggesting that all county/city Chair positions should become paid positions or that all should have a paid Exec. Dir. because not all county committees have that level of duties imposed on their chairs, but simply to underscore the point even at the county level it is hard to find a person willing and able to devote the time as an unpaid chair even at the county level. But for a statewide chair it is impossible to do justice to the job if the incumbent also has to handle a full-time paying job that he/she cannot neglect when work schedule and other conflicts develop. Sorry, this paragraph got too wordy.

      Shorter version for my response is that the DPVA Chair position has always been a very full time executive position if done right, and the elected chair should be fairly compensated. If the appointed paid staffer whose title is Executive Director is performing many of the functions of Chair anyway, it just seems to make sense to merge the two positions into one and pay the elected Chair.

                              T.C.

    • VADEM

      don’t know how much money the DPVA has for salaries so I couldn’t speculate on a rate of pay. Peter is wealthy I think and is not a lobbyiest so he wouldn’t need a huge salary.

      It needs to be a full time, paid job. Period. We are in for a huge fight in 2012. We need one person, focused for the next two years. We need to crank up the money machine and organizing big time.

      I wonder if the DNC could pitch in some salary money? Then I also don’t know how we get this changed so it can be a full time paid position.

    • klaph

      Since we want a professional (paid) chair and we want to juice up fundraising, could the chair’s salary in some way be tied to success in raising money? There should be some base, of course, but what about increments if he/she is doing part of his/her job really well?

    • Tom

      I just read Peter’s response and I have to agree with him that DPVA funding requirements for activities to rebuild the party structure, recruit good candidates and help them win elections has to take precedence over paying or otherwise compensating the elected chair. And I do see the danger of a financial incentive that could have the unintended consequence of a potential for corruption if a chair’s compensation were in any way connected to his/her fund raising performance.

      I do think it might at some time in the future when the party financial condition permits that reimbursement of travel expenses for the chair be considered, since a very active chair will have to travel a lot if close contact with local committees is to be successful.

      Thanks, Peter, for putting this in the right perspective.

                                T.C.

    • listlady

      between the Chair and DPVA staff is a key question. What should be the Chair’s primary focus — organization? fundraising? visible cheerleading? To what extent should resources be provided to support his personal travel, wining and dining of potential donors, and such? How should the fulltime paid staff be organized and what should its main missions be? Are there areas — geographic or topical — where paid staff can be more effective than a Chair based in NoVA?

      This is the larger framework for discussion about whether the Chair should be salaried. Or have I missed something and DPVA’s statewide organization is about to become a one-man band?