It is the ADF Election season again, and I'm just coming to process what has happened in the past 10 days. In what have turned out to be the final hours of the nomination window for ArchDruid, on Friday I was approached by Rev. Nancy McAndrew, without any prior communications on the whole AD election situation, and asked if I would run for ArchDruid. I will be frank in that I had no intent on running this year going into the election season, I was honestly not even looking at running for any office. I am though a big proponent for not having uncontested elections. The way things were heading, Rev. Jean "Drum" Pagano, our current Vice ArchDruid, was looking to be getting nominated from both the Clergy Council and Council of Senior Druids, and presumably from the Mother Grove too. Other clergy members were asked if they would run, either privately or on lists, and all had declined. I am one to stick to my principals though, and determined when I heard that Rev. Kirk Thomas was not running again, I would stick my neck out, only if asked. Well, I was asked. Shortly after voting began on the nominations, I was asked once again by Nancy if I would be willing to try to also go through the petition process, especially since it appeared that Drum or his supporters, had created a petition. I agreed.
Here is what has happened to lead up to that. On December 4, ADF's current ArchDruid, Rev. Kirk Thomas, announced publicly that he was not going to run for re-election. This took most of us, myself included, by surprised. Within a day on both the Council of Senior Druids (Via Flip Rutledge as chief) and the Clergy Council (Via Kirk as AD), we had a call for nominations. This is a full 5 days before the official call for nominations was released, and on the 12th, only 8 days after we found out that Kirk was stepping down, and only 2 days after the ADF wide official call for nominations went out, both councils were voting.
As I have now had a couple days to process this complete change of events for myself, and I am even more sure that we need at least a second person, if not a third and fourth candidate to run for ArchDruid. To put it bluntly, the whole process has come across as fishy. In the CoSD and the CC, we usually have a two week discussion period for anything before voting, this was at best 7 days. This has the appearance of a coordinated effort by Kirk, Flip, and by extension the MG, of trying to move quickly, and push their preferred candidate on us making it more difficult (eg having to go the petition route) to get another candidate on the ballot. I am not claiming this has actually happened, I don't know what is going on with regards to this on the MG, and it is entirely possible that this is purely coincidence. Needless to say, it feels off even if it is not. I thought it was just me, but as I see some emails and talk to some people, I know it's not just me.
Now, please, don't take this as me saying anything against anyone, it is only how things are appearing to me, and I want to believe that nothing nefarious is happening. That being said, I urge everyone to take a look at the current clergy of ADF (you can see a listing at https://www.adf.org/about/leaders/index.html ) and if you find someone that you would think would make a good AD, ask them if they would be willing to run and start a petition. I ask that if you too believe that we should have a contested election, and not be handed a decision by the Mother Grove, Clergy Council, and Council of Senior Druids, please consider signing the petition for me. By signing any of these petitions, you are not pledging your support to the person, you are saying though that you want a contested election. If you wish to sign mine, you can do so here:
Please remember when signing a petition, you will need to provide identifying information, ideally your name and your membership number. As far as I can find, there is also no limitation to how many petitions you can sign. To find your member number, you need to log into the ADF website, and click on your user name (just under the logo). Your membership ID should be the first line that you see on the page. Don't be surprised too if the Elections Officer contacts you and asks to verify that you signed.