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County Republican leader resigns

Posted: Sunday, April 04, 2010

Once again, Lawrence Hammond no longer leads the Columbia County Republican Party.

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Hammond resigned March 27 during the party's monthly breakfast meeting, saying he'd rather step aside than continue to be targeted by some party members.

Some members filed an ethics complaint against Hammond in September, which led to his initial removal by a group of county Republicans during a December meeting.

However, Hammond was re-instated last month by the 10th District Republican Committee.

The complaints against Hammond started with a letter he sent to state lawmakers and county commissioners that inquired about a lobbying firm hired by the county commission.

Hammond initially disputed his removal, stating he didn't receive proper notice to attend the meeting when he was ousted. The 10th District committee agreed.

"As many of you may know already ... the 10th District reinstated me as chairman after some of the nonsense that went on back in December," he told those attending the breakfast.

Following his reinstatement, Hammond issued a press release saying that he couldn't protect the party's image from several members' behavior and would resign when a new chairman was elected on April 19.

However, his grievances with members of the party, specifically vice-chairwoman Pat Goodwin and executive board members Jim Bartley and Nita Boeglen, prompted him to resign nearly a month early, according to a letter Hammond distributed at the breakfast meeting.

Some of the complaints made against Hammond by Goodwin, Bartley and Boeglen included that he "failed to carry out the professional duties and responsibilities of the chair" and that he lacked team leadership skills.

"It is absurd to insinuate that a political organization not have leadership that has experience and interest in politics," Hammond wrote.

Another complaint questioned Hammond's motives. He retaliated by questioning the motives of the executive committee.

"It is absolutely wrong to usurp the authority of the county committee to push an individual's or a small faction's agenda as is currently the case, in my opinion, with the so called 'gang of eleven' on the executive board," he wrote. "I enthusiastically reject the actions of the 'gang of eleven.'

"I have not, do not, will not support their destructive agenda."

In an e-mail sent March 28 to The News Times , Goodwin wrote that she was surprised by Hammond's resignation and thanked him for his service.

Goodwin, who served as interim chairman until Hammond's reinstatement, has resumed leadership of the party until a new chairman is elected on April 27 during a committee meeting. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. and will be held in the auditorium of the Evans Government Center on Ronald Reagan Drive in Evans.



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