Delco Democrats To Vote On Ousters Two Yeadon Borough Council Members And Three Supporters Are Accused Of An Illegal Party Vote.

Posted: October 12, 1999

YEADON — A bitter intraparty dispute is expected to come to a head tonight with a vote on whether to oust two Borough Council members and three of their party supporters from the Yeadon Democratic Committee.

The Democratic Leadership Council, a group of party leaders from across Delaware County, will hear evidence and then vote on whether to strip Borough Council members John F. Byrne and Patricia Evans of their committee posts, along with Gwendolyn Brown, Andrea Williams and Denise Stenton. Committee members are elected by their respective party's voters to serve as the governing boards of each town's political organizations.

The hearing, at the Marple Township Building, is closed to the public. Political parties are not subject to the state's open-meetings law.

At issue is whether Byrne, as vice chairman of the Yeadon Democratic Party, held an invalid committee meeting July 21. At that meeting, the Rev. Carolina B. Harris-Ramsue was removed as chairwoman and Evans was elected to replace her. The vote to sack Mrs. Harris-Ramsue was 6-0, with none of the other 12 committee members in attendance. She contends the vote was illegal, and Clifford Wilson, county party chairman, agrees.

``The bylaws are crystal clear,'' said Wilson, who will preside tonight. ``A majority of the committee members are required to remove an elected officer such as Rev. Ramsue. And in a committee where there are 18 members, the majority is 10.''

Byrne contends that only elected committee members can vote on removals, and that of the 18 committee members, nine were appointed by Mrs. Harris-Ramsue and not elected.

``We had six elected committee people at our meeting on July 21, and the vote was 6-0 to remove Ramsue,'' Byrne said.

The sixth person voting was Democratic committeeman Ivory Taliaferro. Unlike the other five committee people who voted July 21, he is not a target of the removal vote.

Wilson said that the county Democratic Party still recognizes Mrs. Harris-Ramsue as party chairwoman in the borough, which he told Byrne in a letter in July.

The controversy is part of a major rift in a town that boasts the largest Democratic registration advantage in predominantly Republican Delaware County. The latest statistics show that Democrats outnumber Republicans by a ratio of more than 3-1 in Yeadon. On the Borough Council, there are six Democrats, one independent and no Republicans.

Since the committee vote July 21, Byrne, Evans and other Democrats have broken away from the regular organization to form what they call the New Yeadon Democratic Committee. Neither Byrne nor Evans is on the ballot Nov. 2, in which Yeadon voters will elect three council members.

William P. Lincke, who will represent Evans at the hearing tonight, said he was one of the authors of the county Democrats' bylaws. Contrary to Wilson's and Byrne's contentions, Lincke said, there was no provision addressing the removal of a local chair or the election of a successor.

``Some of the bylaws are very ambiguous, and we could spend three hours interpreting them,'' Lincke said, ``but we shouldn't even spend three minutes. We ought to be talking about how we build the party. Right now, that's what we really need to discuss.''

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