Can Committee Established By Angelo Run a Fair Election?
Opposition candidates in the upcoming FOP elections have formally protested what they claim are bizarre and unfair election rules that heavily favor President Dean Angelo and his slate.
And members of Angelo’s handpicked election committee have already dismissed these complaints without much explanation.
Candidates, therefore, appealed to the arbitrator.
Questions now take shape: Will Angelo’s handling of the election add to the allegations of backroom dealing, shady tactics, and patronage that have already haunted his administration?
Early election signs are not good.
In a contentious and raucous candidates meeting, Angelo’s election committee revealed a clear bias and willingness to finagle the election rules in favor of Angelo.
One example was the admission by election committee members that they took anonymous complaints alleging candidates are “electioneering” while on work time, and investigated them.
Police officers have been fighting anonymous complaints from the public for years. Why, then, would an FOP election committee take them seriously?
One would think IPRA/COPA was running the election, not fellow FOP members.
With the FOP taking anonymous complaints, the opportunity for election corruption is dramatically increased, as should be fairly obvious to anyone. Since the election committee has now revealed they will take up such complaints, any supporter of one slate could file a series of anonymous complaints against another slate’s candidate, as a form of harassment.
More and more, it looks as if the integrity of the election process is mirroring Angelo’s administration.
“…No anonymous complaints should ever be taken,” Trustee candidate on the Blue Voice slate, Bill Dougherty, wrote in a complaint.
The committee also revealed that election rules will not be equally applied. Candidates, committee members declared, cannot engage in “electioneering” while working.
Former FOP officials stated such a policy contradicted nearly twenty years of past practice. No such rule had ever been made in previous elections.
But it has gotten worse. Turns out this same policy will not be applied to Angelo and his slate.
Angelo argued at the meeting that the schedule of FOP workers at the office fluctuate. Therefore, he argued, they do not have to submit a work schedule that could be used to determine when they are working and when they are campaigning.
So, while other candidates are strictly forbidden to “electioneer” during work time, Angelo and his team can campaign whenever and wherever they want.
“The election committee is stepping into an area that no one has gone to in my 20 years of being involved in the FOP elections,” Dougherty said.
When confronted about the inequity in the election rules and the possibility that Angelo and his slate could mix campaign and work time in a manner other candidates could not, Angelo lashed out.
“I don’t lie,” Angelo shouted.
Check out this Facebook post by Angelo. It shows him campaigning on social media during what is normally regular office hours. Perhaps, one wonders, Angelo had no pending Lodge business after another “quiet” weekend.
Finally, candidates protested that Angelo has engaged in prohibited election tactics by using the FOP newsletter to bolster his candidacy.
Dougherty complained that Angelo used the January 2017 newsletter for campaigning.
In response to these protests, Angelo’s election committee rejected the protests. Dougherty has appealed to the arbitrator.
Angelo’s willingness to bend the election rules may be the first sign that his campaign is in trouble. A contentious election is therefore taking shape, one in which members and candidates should watch the process carefully, lest something unforeseen or unwanted take shape, like the loss of one’s insurance, pension security, or due process.