I am writing you to finally put to rest the "conspiracy theories" that have been concocted for the last six weeks. You can stop repeatedly asking our GOP candidates leading questions about the Bernardsville Republican Municipal Committee's (BRMC) screening meeting that took place at the end of March.

        Here are the facts:

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  • The March 22nd screening meeting was proposed to BRMC members in December 2016. 
  • At the January 18th meeting of the BRMC this screening date was discussed and approved by the membership. 
  • As per our by laws and screening rules (which were approved by the GOP County Chairman, been in effect for over 10 years and followed accordingly) all BRMC members were duly notified and a public announcement was released and published in your newspaper in February 1st. That's  49 days or seven weeks before the Screening meeting. Well in excess of the 10 day requirement. 
  • All candidates should be present at the Screening Meeting. There is one exception to this rule. "If a serious personal crisis arises that makes it impossible for a candidate to attend the meeting to make a presentation and answer questions, the reason for absence will be presented to the qualified voters who are present.  The absent candidate will be allowed to be considered for endorsement in the screening process only if a majority of the BRMC present approves that action."
  • The committee considered Mr. Birnbaum's reason for not being present that night. Due to his failing to screen in person, voted not to allow him to be considered for their endorsement. As far as I can tell, the majority did not consider his reason for not being there ("Spring Break Family vacation), "a serious personal crisis that made it impossible for him to attend the meeting and make a presentation and answer questions." 

        As you can see, there was no evidence of a "flawed" process. Our committee followed the process as outlined in our by laws and conducted a fair and open screening meeting.  It was Mr. Birnbaum's responsibility to show or not show. It was his responsibility to reach out to the committee members, not the other way around. It was his responsibility to know the rules of the screening meeting. He went through it before.

        It's really simple, Mr. Birnbaum failed to present himself at the screening meeting that night. The two endorsed candidates followed the rules and made themselves available for presentations and questions. Mr. Birnbaum did not. 

        I can't imagine, nor I have I ever heard of, someone applying for a job, not showing up for the interview and expecting to get the position over other well qualified candidates.                  

        From a BRMC perspective, there is no doubt that we have endorsed the two strongest candidates to represent the GOP in the upcoming election cycle. Nothing "flawed" here.


Skip Orza

The author is the chair of the Bernardsville Republican Municipal Committee