GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — A consequential vote will impact a Guilford County politician after a debacle with the Guilford County Board of Education’s vacancy.
On Monday, the Guilford County GOP passed a “party disloyalty” motion against Bill Goebel after he briefly occupied the District 3 Guilford County Board of Education seat due to the board repeatedly rejecting the party’s offered candidate.
“The motion to affirm the Party Disloyalty charges passed by an overwhelming majority of the Executive Committee members,” Chairman Chris Meadows said.
After Pat Tillman resigned from his seat representing District 3 following his election to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, the Guilford County Republican Party nominated teacher Michael Logan to replace him. The board voted four times to reject Logan.
Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford) and Rep. John Faircloth (R-Guilford) filed House Bill 88 to clean up language in the statute covering this process, seeking to force the board to seat the party’s nominee. However, using a loophole in the new law, the board instead seated Bill Goebel, another Republican from the district.
The General Assembly passed Senate Bill 9 in June. Goebel’s attorney Charles Winfree, in a letter submitted to the Guilford County School Board and copied to the chairman of the Guilford County GOP, argued that SB 9 does not in itself unseat Goebel and, if it it did, it would be unconstitutional.
Goebel stepped down from the seat last month after a protracted battle between the Board of Education that saw the passage of a law meant to settle the matter and the filing of a lawsuit, accusing the Board of Education and Goebel of violating open meeting laws.
The Guilford County GOP censured Goebel over the situation earlier in the year, but Meadows says that the party disloyalty motion is distinct from the censure in that it has more significant consequences for the party member affected, as a censure is a “lighter” form of the motion.
Meadows said prior to the vote that he expected the motion to “pass with overwhelming support” and said confidently that it would pass the state party executive committee when it is taken up, which is the next step after the vote.
The censure initially had banned Goelbel from GCGOP-sponsored functions, but the party disloyalty motion will ban him from all NCGOP functions and bar him from holding any party offices for a maximum of five years. It does not ban him from running for office as a Republican, however.
“With this motion, the Guilford GOP and NCGOP will not be required to provide any type of support to Goebel should he win in a primary and be the nominee in a general election,” Meadows said.
Logan and two Republican school board members have filed a lawsuit claiming the board violated state open meetings law when it seated Goebel, which is still in the discovery phase.
The party disloyalty motion now goes to the state level.