Pa. GOP investigation voids Lycoming County chairman’s re-election

The Lycoming County Republican Party is entering into “uncharted territory” after a recent decision by the state GOP has ruled the county party chairman’s re-election illegitimate and have called for a revote.

Bob Brobson, who has served for six years as the party chairman, was re-elected during a May reorganization meeting. However, following an investigation that began in August, the state GOP Credential Committee said that appropriate notice was not given by Brobson for the meeting.

“The committee concludes that the Reorganization meeting, and the election of chair … should be redone subsequent to the upcoming general election and overseen by a neutral, out-of-county individual appointed by the state committee,” the report stated.

Rob Gleason, chairman on the state GOP, said in a letter that he has accepted the recommendation of the committee and would act on it after the general election.

A revote has yet to be scheduled.

Brobson said he did not want to comment on the committee’s decision.

“We’re in flux right now,” said Jeff Stroehmann, committee member and previous chairman of the local GOP. “It’s such uncharted territory for the (county) committee.”

A formal complaint was sent to the state GOP in June by eight county committee members. The members, Curtis Henry, Harry Rogers, Stroehmann, Krista Rogers, Patricia B. Henry, Paul D. Nyman, Ruth R. Brewer and Charles Brewer, said they were not given adequate notice for the May reorganization meeting and were not given time to obtain and submit absentee ballots.

Rogers stated that if more notice was given, it is possible Brobson would have lost the vote.

According to the report, the complaint listed four grievances by Brobson leading up to, during and after the meeting. They stated that he failed to provide advanced notice that the May meeting would be a reorganization meeting, he failed to provide sufficient opportunity to obtain and submit absentee ballots, he suspended the by-laws at the meeting and destroyed the paper ballots after the votes were cast.

Following a hearing where the complainants and Brobson were present, the state committee concluded that Brobson failed to provide adequate notice before the vote. In light of this the state committee did not rule on his suspension of the by-law or destroying the ballots because a revote would need to be made either way.

According to Rogers, a revote meeting has not been scheduled yet, and this may not happen until after the holiday season.

“I do believe the right decision was made,” Rogers said. “My hope is that the Lycoming Republican Committee can move forward … and work together again to grow the committee to the financial and volunteer base that we had.”

The key questions for the committee to answer is if it has a board of officers to lead it and how to move forward following the state GOP’s decision, Stroehmann said.

“A lot of people are confused as to where the committee stands,” he said.

Moving forward, Stroehmann said, the members will need to decide if they will set up a new board until after the revote, or if they will simply wait until a revote is scheduled by the state committee.