Outcomes: Process casts shadow over Drake appointment

Lindsay Dennis was right when she said it seemed as though members of Belpre’s Republican Central Committee already knew the outcome for which they hoped, when they met to appoint someone to fill a vacant council seat.

“It seemed like the decision was made before the meeting even opened,” she said, after a meeting that if nothing else presented a bad look for the committee.

Don’t get us wrong. Judith Drake may very well be the best person to fill the seat. But we will never know how she stacked up against others who were interested in the seat because those folks were excluded from the process.

Drake, a member of the committee, did recuse herself from the vote, over which Washington County Republican Executive Committee Vice Chairman and Washington County Commissioner David White was presiding.

That left committee members Kelly Cox, Cliff Walker and Pamela Thomas to make the decision. Once Walker nominated Drake and Thomas seconded the motion, Cox tried to nominate Dennis, B.J. Cassady, Sandra Elder and Paul Wallace … and received a second for none. Cox gave up before nominating Susan Abdella, who had also applied for the position.

“I was just frustrated,” Cox said.

It is easy to see why.

For goodness sake, even if they HAD already made up their minds about wanting one of their own in the seat, what would it have hurt to second the nominations of some other candidates to have a fair discussion?

They have certainly not done Drake any favors by casting a shadow of illegitimacy over her appointment.

Cox was correct to remind voters of the significance of party committee positions.

“I hope that in four years, people will put in their name to run. It’s a very important position,” she said.

Voters can see that right now, both in the influence they wield … and how some of those now on the committee have chosen to wield it.