Worley: Tim Bowen not removed as chairman

Posted 8/30/18

Alabama Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley said Walker County Democratic Party Chairman Tim Bowen has not been removed, despite an allegation from the removed Marion County chairwoman …

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Worley: Tim Bowen not removed as chairman


Alabama Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley said Walker County Democratic Party Chairman Tim Bowen has not been removed, despite an allegation from the removed Marion County chairwoman indicating Bowen had faced such an action.

"Nobody has been removed in Walker County," Worley said Wednesday. 

Susan Cobb, who recently opposed Worley's re-election as chairwoman, was removed by Worley, who claimed that she did not perform responsibilities. Cobb is now suing Worley. 

In a story Wednesday published by the Journal Record in Hamilton, Cobb told the newspaper that similar action had been taken against Bowen. However, Worley on Wednesday afternoon said that was not the case.

"In the case of Tim Bowen in Walker County, it is two different situations completely," Worley said. "I have never removed Tim Bowen. He is still on our lists. But he and Shirley Mitchell are both listed for Walker County." 

Although she indicated her memory is fuzzy, she said either Bowen or Mitchell called last year to say he had certain job requirements that would take some time away. In addition, Worley was told that "Shirley, who was vice chair, would be handling most of the work we're requesting from the Walker County Democratic Party.

"So in that case, we send both of them all our emails. We send both of them mailings," she said. "We include both of them in any correspondence. We kind of consider them to be co-chairs." In the end, Mitchell sends most of the official results to the state party. 

Compared with Cobb, "it is sort of like comparing apples to oranges," Worley said. "It is two very different situations." 

Bowen could not be reached for comment Wednesday. 

Worley said, "Susan was indeed removed as the interim chair. She was appointed by me because she said there was no activity in the county. She wanted to work and know what could she do. I said, 'I'll just appoint you to get a group together to get started.' I think that was in 2017.

"The primary occurred and she did not get any official votes from Marion County. Then I got someone else to do that job. I called and informed her I got someone else to do the interim chair's work." 

While Cobb said she was chairwoman, a formal structure was never put in place in Marion County, Worley said. "I can't speak of a group of five or 10 people getting together and electing her chair, but we had no formal structure in Marion County to elect a permanent chair." 

Worley said Cobb was removed in early June and replaced her, and then took her name off the party website. The Journal Record identified Cobb's replacement as Raymond Carroll Hughes of Hamilton. 

While Worley said she has the authority to appoint a chairman until a structure is set up, the members, once the official party is set up, then vote to elect its chair. 

Worley told the Journal Record that the entire Marion County Democratic Executive Committee does not technically exist and that she plans on having a "reorganization" of the local party in one to two months to host elections. 

Worley said Wednesday afternoon she asks that a local party do the required work, such as giving the state party the official certified results and publicize events. She noted she is organizing in several counties, and was on her way to Mobile County, as they are not technically organized in that county to meet by-law requirements.

Cobb sued Worley on Aug. 21, saying that Worley was abusing her position to target opposition. Cobb was vocal online to criticize the process once Worley was re-elected state chairwoman over attorney Peck Fox by a margin of 101 to 89, despite opposition from U.S. Sen. Doug Jones and others. 

Cobb said in her suit she was told her name had been removed from the state party's website because Cobb had failed to properly certify the June 5 primary election returns. Cobb claimed in the suit she was never told it was her job to communicate the results to the state party. 

The suit asks Cobb be reinstated and to prevent Worley from reorganizing the Marion County party, as well as to prevent removing other county party officials elected. Cobb claimed in the suit she was elected county chairwoman of the county Democratic Party Executive Committee in February 2018 in an election. She said the committee had previously been in stagnation and few meetings were held, and that Cobb and others "helped reinvigorate" the county party. She said she never was given instructions on how elections were to be held or reported to the state party. 

She said when Worley called her for June 5 for results, Cobb, who was ill, made arrangements for another committee member to get the results from the Marion County Probate Judge's Office and email them to Worley. 

The Journal Record quoted Cobb's lawyer, Kristy Kirkland, as saying no evident action by Worley was taken until Aug. 15, four days after Worley was re-elected as party chairwoman. Cobb said a week later, a friend told her about her name being removed from the state party website.  

Worley said Wednesday that as far as how she feels about Democratic organizing in Walker and surrounding counties, she said, "We are seeing a lot of interest in Democrats. We have more running than ever before," including those who are new and experienced. With proper organizing, "we have the potential to really make a great many strides in the Democratic Party." 

She said efforts will be made to harness enthusiasm she is seeing in the party.

"In Northwest Alabama, you have some strong areas and then you have some that need to be worked on, so we're taking it one county at a time," she said. 

In a related matter, a Jefferson County Democrat has filed a complaint with national party officials saying rules were broken with Worley's re-election as chairwoman, involving diversity requirements and inadequate notice of the meeting.