Monday, May 8, 2017

When Gerhart Came To Pollard's Assistance

  Last weekend we watched the Republicans gather to organize the Oklahoma Republican Party for another two years. The Party chose to give Pam Pollard her own full term, after she just completed Randy Brogdon's unexpired term.
  She and her team organized a well-designed event with a very comfortable venue. All the committees did their jobs efficiently (for the most part). Even the catered lunch was great.
But when the body cast a very close and very contentious vote, the computers were called upon the get the weighted votes tabulated to the one-thousandth of a percent. With a small fraction of a percent deciding a key permanent change in how the party deals with candidates, the very software's algebraic algorithms were in need of a prudent review.
Three delegates including Michael Bates of Batesline; were called upon to review the software code. They did indeed find an error and did an override using the proper calculations. But some of the delegates wanted even more openness. Some requested that the raw data and software code (Microsoft Excel and a macro), be made available after the convention.
Gerhart & Pollard moved quickly to restore confidence in a very narrowly split convention vote.

  The convention chairman, Josh Cockroft; had no authority to direct any party decisions after the convention, so he decided to decline the request. That got testy and some type-A personalities had some blunt exchanges.
  I decided to approach Michael Bates with the idea that he would write an independent review at a later time, in exchange for getting the needed data and software. He was agreeable and suggested that I pitch the idea to chairman Pollard.
  Pollard was immediately supportive and wanted to get ahead of the issue.
  Then Pollard decided to offer that same access to Al Gerhart.  In a rather public show of leadership, she escorted Gerhart and a couple others to the technology booth, up in the balcony.  I joined them and asked Gerhart what was developing. He was very pleased with Pam's decision and last night he gave a qualified report to his blog, that he was able to confirm that he saw no evidence of fixing the vote. He could not verify the actions of every county chairman, but he did verify what was in the database.
  This is a good outcome for the integrity of the party. Both Pollard and Gerhart worked together, despite their past disagreements.  I hope this example encourages all of us to find better solutions by trusting the good will of  folks who have divergent priorities.
  Pam is Pam & Al is Al. They will certainly continue to have disagreements. But they demonstrated statesmanship toward each other in this controversy.
   Josh Cockroft and Al have some things to work out. I won't sugarcoat it. Josh mostly had a stellar performance. He could have explained things better when Al requested access to the data. I don't know their past history so there may be things impacting that discourse which I am unaware of (we all know stories of Al and the various legislators). But Al's request was actually the desire of all of us. We all wanted this thing done above board and openly. When the technology booth shut off the screens for several minutes, every delegate perceived some sort of 'funny business'. That was a bad move, because it was done without explanation. I hope we never endure that treatment again. It wasn't fair to Cockroft to put him up there to endure that wrath of all 800 delegates, without empowering him with the right info to relay to us delegates.
  I know that Cockroft's priorities were also fixed on maintaining control of the convention. And that's where I think Gary Jones is the master. Jones handled the worst disorganized convention in modern history(2015). But he exuded mutual respect for every delegate. It made all of us want to live up to Jones' high expectation of each of us.
​ I'm proud of this convention and glad I was chosen to participate in it.

from Sooner - Editorial

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