TO:         The LP Executive Committee

FROM:         Bill Winter

TOPIC:         Performance & Salaries

DATE:         November 5, 1993


 I was looking over the proposed budget for 1994, and I noticed that there is a 15,000 salary increase for Gene Cisewski included in it.

 I wish to protest this in the strongest possible terms.

 Frankly, I am astonished that the party would even consider paying Gene a penny more, given his performance to date and total lack of a successful track record in the Libertarian Party.

 Before I elaborate on this, I want to make three points:

 First, I hope nothing I say will be seen as questioning Gene's dedication to libertarian causes. I'm sure he means well, and is struggling to do what he thinks is best for the Libertarian Party.

 Second, I wish to remind people of my nearly unblemished record of getting along with and working with other Libertarians. In the six years I have been active in the Libertarian Party, there is not a single instance where I have been involved in a PUBLIC dispute over personalities, strategy, or performance. For example, since I have been at the national office, I have had productive,' respectful, and harmonious working relations with both Stuart Reges and Perry Willis.

 Third, I am not a person who cares about the size of someone else's paycheck in comparison to mine. Nor am I a person who is motivated by money. I cheerfully accepted the position of Director of Communications in Washington ‑ even though my real income after taxes took a considerable decline, and my cost of living skyrocketed. I took the job because I believe I possess a unique combination of skills, real‑world political insights, and record of success that can dramatically help the party. I did not begrudge the LP the financial difficulties I face.

 But for the party to accept my sacrifice, and then to turn around and shower a major salary increase on Gene ‑ after he has failed at almost every task he has attempted so far in the office ‑ is an insult I find difficult to bear.

 I cannot stress the following point strongly enough: Thus far, Gene has demonstrated NOT A SINGLE one of the marketing skills that he was hired to bring to the Libertarian Party. He has demonstrated NOT A SINGLE bit of proof that he can use his marketing, or direct mail, or sales background to raise more money, get more people to join the LP, increase the number of prospects, get people elected, or increase media attention.

 For this, he is being rewarded with a $15,000 salary increase.

 In particular:

 * Gene has NO track record of success in the Libertarian Party. He spent less than a year actively involved in the LP of Wisconsin, and in that time, their membership declined. (SOURCE: National membership records. January 1993: 174 NatLP members. October 1993: 156 NatLP members.)

 By contrast, when I was the State Chairman of the LPNH, paid membership increased by almost 1,000%, to the highest LP density in the nation.

 * Gene has shown absolutely no skill in any direct mail fundraising area. Indeed, he has shown several times to possess inferior skills to the "amateurs" we have had doing many of these jobs in the past. And remember, the promise was that Gene's skills would dramatically BOOST our fundraising income.

Instead, Gene is now attempting to write his FOURTH fundraising letter. His first three efforts were rejected because they were unanimously perceived to be inept; with garbled English, absurd strategy suggestions, a lack of knowledge about what is accomplishable and "saleable," and a format that violated proven, basic rules of fundraising letters.

 By contrast, the first letter I wrote for the LP has pulled upwards of $25,000, and met with considerable praise and favorable comments from members. The second letter ‑ the Project Health Choice letter ‑ written by me in FOUR hours, shows every sign of being an equal success, and is already generating very favorable comments from members. Remember, the whole project, as well as the letter selling it, was my idea. In addition, I will be responsible for creating, writing, designing, and assembling the lobbying packages, press releases, "allied organizations" packets, and LP News coverage to make this project work.

 * Gene has shown absolutely no skill in developing LP strategy. He has claimed in his (rejected) fundraising letters that prospecting letters alone can TURN large numbers of gun‑owners and gay people into Libertarians ‑ as long as they are written at a "Roseanne" level of common man simplicity. Anyone who had ever actually attempted this knows this is absurd. He spends his time writing letters to Bill Clinton, asking to be invited to the White House to discuss health care reform ‑and argues, with a straight face, that "it might actually happen." This displays a political naivete that is breathtaking ‑ and absolutely astonishing from a man with supposed "real‑world" political credentials.

 By contrast, I took a party in New Hampshire with 25 members and one person in office and turned it into the most successful state party in the country, with 400+ members and 20 people in office almost 25% of ALL Libertarians in office around the USA.

 Gene has shown no skill in developing effective LP prospecting and outreach plans. His one membership building suggestion was to casually mention in a (rejected) FUNDRAISING letter that every LP member should sign up one new member. His one (rejected) prospecting suggestion was to hire an outside agency to do the job. Frankly, I find it amazing that he wants to hire outside professionals to create prospecting packages. Why would we pay direct mail marketing whiz Gene $50,000 ‑ or the proposed $65,000 ‑ so Gene can recommend that we pay $38,000 to hire outside direct mail marketing whizzes?

 By contrast, prospect information packages and cycles I created in New Hampshire consistently generated a 15% ‑ 20% conversion rate ‑ about twice what the National LP accomplishes. I created outreach projects that generated 500 ‑ 1,000 names per year in New Hampshire ‑ extrapolated nationwide, that's the equivalent of the national LP generating 125,000 to 250,000 prospect names every year.

 * Gene has shown no skill in any other writing tasks. Every week, I discover some new letter or article he has written in his strange, garbled, flat, dispassionate prose, and try to repair it before it is seen by the public. Even odder, he seems to have no idea that his writing is so bad! He just keeps churning things out.

 By contrast, I wrote and designed what is generally considered to be one of the best Libertarian newsletters in the entire history of the LP. I have written outreach brochures that have been reprinted by half a dozen states around the country. Speeches I have given have been reprinted in several newsletters up and down the East Coast.

 Let me sum this up:

 I have been working with Gene for a month now, and my opinion of him has declined every day. As near as I can tell, his chief goals seem to be personal publicity and glory ‑ he wants to be Washington's Libertarian "insider." He has already gone out to several lengthy lunches with Washington hot shots ‑ while the rest of the staff attempts to keep the place going. He has sent out at least one personal press release (not seen or cleared by anybody) announcing his arrival ‑ while basic office functions don't get done. He keeps talking about the need to move the office, so he can work in the elegance he seems to think he deserves. He's announced that he needs a door to his office ‑ because, darn it, National Directors have offices with doors. He's announced his next goal is to buy better clothes, so he can fit in better in Washington.

 These are DANGEROUS priorities.

 Our problem is NOT that we don't spend enough time having lunch with Washington insiders ‑ it's that we don't spend enough time TRAINING and SUPPORTING our struggling state organizations around the country.

 Our problem is NOT that we don't send out enough press releases praising Gene Cisewski ‑ it's that we're not generating enough political success around the country to be worth covering.

 Our problem is NOT that we don't have an impressive office ‑ it's that we are unable to competently perform the basic, simple administrative functions that our office should be doing.

 Our problem is NOT that Gene's office doesn't have a door ‑ it's that we're not "opening the door" of LP membership to the general public. That's why membership has been almost stagnant for the last few years.

 Our problem is NOT that our National Director doesn't dress swanky enough to impress a few Washington beltway bandits ‑ it's that the prospect package we send out (and the image we project) to tens of thousands of ordinary, interested Americans across the country is embarrassingly crude.

 I should mention, as an aside, that I'm astonished to be saying any of these things about Gene. When I first heard about him, I was delighted that the LP was going to hire him. I even told several people, "This is great! I'll be able to learn so much about direct mail from him!"

 Sadly, that hasn't been the case.

 Instead, in one area after another, he has proven himself to be lackluster in basic professional knowledge, and totally lacking in instinct or insight. And, interestingly, as he has failed at one area after another, the promises made about him have diminished. All that's left to claim about him is that he has some unspecified, undefined "technical" knowledge about marketing and direct mail that no one else has. If so, I have yet to see it. Rather, I have had to endure numerous dry, pedantic lectures from Gene about things I already know. It is accurate ‑ and, again, utterly astonishing ‑ to say that in the last month, I have learned NOTHING new in any area from Gene.

 The bottom line is simply this: The more I work with Gene, the more I fear for the near‑term future of the LP. I will be frank with you: It will be extremely difficult for me to work with a person for whom I have no respect. It may be impossible to work with an incompetent person who is making more than twice what I earn.

 I will repeat: I am not motivated by money, and I am not driven by greed. But I find it difficult to imagine ANY circumstances where I will be willing to clean up Gene's messes, fix Gene's mistakes, desperately try to intercept letters Gene writes (or press releases he plans to send out) before they embarrass us, write fundraising letters about how wonderful and talented Gene is ‑ and do all that for less than half the salary he makes.

 And I find it difficult to imagine ANY circumstances where I would be comfortable knowing that a man with a ZERO track record of success in the Libertarian Party will be paid twice what I make ‑ with my unparalleled record of achievement.

 What am I suggesting?

 At the very least, that Gene's proposed $15,000 increase be eliminated.

 Please, make Gene PROVE that he can actually contribute something to the Libertarian Party before he is paid a single penny more.

If you do decide to increase Gene's salary by $15,000, 1 am formally requesting that my salary be raised by AT LEAST $15,000.

 And, regardless of what happens to Gene's salary, I would like you to consider raising my salary by $7,000 ‑ $10,000. This would give me approximate parity with what I earned in New Hampshire, with perhaps a slight increase. But, please, ONLY do this if you think the work I've done so far ‑ and the promise of what I can accomplish in the future ‑warrants it.

 Let me stress again I am happy to continue doing my job the best I can. Given my limited time, I am even happy to do as much of Gene's job as I possibly can, since he seems incapable of doing it.

 But I am not sure I am willing to do all this for a salary that is embarrassingly puny next to the largess you plan to shower on Gene.

 Of course, I would be happy to further discuss any of this with you. My home phone number is (202) 966‑6807. I'll be in and out this weekend.

 Finally, let me add that I do not want to be accused of making accusations behind Gene's back. If you think appropriate, I will personally hand‑deliver a copy of this letter to Gene.

 Bill Winter

Director of Communications

Libertarian Party

 Sent to:   Steve Dasbach,  Karen Allard , Hugh Butler, John Famularo, Sharon Ayres, Tamara Clark