Former Ron Paul campaign staffer Steve Bierfeldt is the new executive director of the Republican Party of Iowa. State Central Committee members were notified of Bierfeldt’s hiring by mail last week in a letter sent by Chairman A.J. Spiker.
RPI spokesperson Megan Stiles confirmed the hiring of Bierfeldt and another new staffer, John Ferland, to TheIowaRepublican.com on Friday. Stiles, also a former Paul campaign staffer, said she thinks Ferland was hired to serve as RPI’s new organizational director.
“I was surprised to see that Chairman Spiker had selected an executive director after I had specifically requested input into this process, as both a State Central Committee member and member of the personnel subcommittee,” said Tim Moran. “My request was clearly ignored.”
Moran was reelected to the SCC during the Fourth District Convention in April. He says Chairman Spiker told him during a phone conversation on May 8 that his input would be allowed in the selection process. However, Moran was never consulted.
“There’s no transparency in this selection process,” Moran said. “Past administrations clearly sought the advice and input of the entire State Central Committee. I hoped our new party leadership would respect the role of the SCC and the delegates who elected us and have some transparency in this process. Clearly, that was not the case with this hire.”
Former Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn hired three different executive directors during his tenure. Each time, the input of the State Central Committee was vital to the process. The first hire was Jeff Boeyink. According to Tim Moran, Chairman Strawn contacted each SCC member and listened to their advice. Boeyink then offered to personally talk to each member individually before they voted on approving his hire.
After Boeyink resigned from RPI to run Terry Branstad’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign, Strawn selected co-chair Jim Kurtenbach to lead a nationwide search for a new executive director. That led to Jim Anderson’s hiring.
Anderson departed after the 2010 elections. Chad Olsen, who led the Iowa GOP’s successful Victory operations that year, was appointed the interim executive director by unanimous consent. During a November 2010 meeting, all State Central Committee members were allowed to question Olsen before they voted on his hiring, according to Tim Moran.
Bierfeldt’s hiring still must be confirmed by the State Central Committee. The timing works perfectly for Bierfeldt. The current committee’s tenure comes to an end this Saturday at the conclusion of the RPI state convention. That means the new SCC will decide whether or not to confirm him. Since fellow Ron Paul supporters hold the majority of slots on the new SCC, it is a veritable certainty he will be approved.
“I find it highly suspicious that we get this letter 10 days prior to the state convention, because we’re bound by the 10 day meeting rule,” said SCC member Chelle Adkins. “So, if he had announced it any sooner, we would have been able to call a meeting and question this guy.”
A notice of at least 10 days is required whenever a SCC member wants to call a meeting to discuss RPI business. Spiker’s letter is dated June 5. That means the earliest it would have been received by any SCC members would have been June 6, 10 days prior to when the current SCC ends its tenure.
“I’m kind of disappointed that he didn’t seek any input from people on the State Central Committee,” Adkins said. “There were other people that were qualified from Iowa that did apply for the job.”
Steve Bierfeldt is not a political novice. He has held many jobs tied to Ron Paul’s organization during the last few years. Bierfeldt was the executive director of Paul’s Iowa campaign through the 2011 Ames Straw. Then he guided Paul to a third place finish in the Nevada caucuses. Prior to that, Bierfeldt worked on Rand Paul’s 2010 senate campaign and also spent two years as a vice-president with Campaign for Liberty.
John Ferland, from Aiken, South Carolina, was the First Congressional District director for Ron Paul’s Iowa campaign. He then served as the campaign’s Kansas state director, where Paul finished in fourth place. Ferland returned to Iowa to help organize Ron Paul supporters at the First District convention in April.
Delegates tell TheIowaRepublican.com that Ferland and other Paul campaign leaders were equipped with radios at the First District convention and were using them to actively coach Ron Paul supporters how to vote. Some delegates felt Ferland was disruptive during the convention and the Sergeant-at-Arms had to remove him from the floor more than once, since Ferland was not a delegate.
Also in his letter to the SCC, Chairman Spiker called for a special meeting to take place one hour after the conclusion of this Saturday’s state convention to elect a new treasurer and conduct other RPI business.
Photo by Dave Davidson, Prezography.com
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