MARC CHASE: GOP township complaint worthy of 'dislike' button

2014-03-25T00:00:00Z MARC CHASE: GOP township complaint worthy of 'dislike' buttonMarc Chase marc.chase@nwi.com, (219) 662-5330 nwitimes.com
March 25, 2014 12:00 am  • 

You better watch what and who you "Like" on Facebook. You never know who might use a simple tap of the mouse against you.

Of course, if anything comes of an intraparty complaint filed by a south Lake County Republican incumbent against his GOP primary challenger, I'll personally request that Facebook add a "dislike" button.

According to local Republican leadership, Winfield Township Trustee Roland Brauer recently filed a complaint with the state party asking for GOP primary challenger Paulette Skinner — who also serves on the Winfield Town Council and as a Republican precinct committeewoman — to be removed from her committeewoman post.

The grounds for this requested removal, you ask?

Skinner, at some point, clicked the "Like" button on something a Democratic candidate for a Winfield Township Board seat, Karen Smiley, said on Smiley's Facebook page.

The state party forwarded Brauer's complaint to Lake County GOP Chairman Dan Dernulc, who confirmed the gist of it when I spoke with him Friday.

So now, mustering his best straight face, Dernulc is required to convene a three-person panel of Lake County GOP peers to review the complaint and determine if it merits tossing Skinner from her precinct post.

If you stopped reading at this point because you're laughing so hard you lost bladder control, I don't blame you. Take a moment and compose yourself, by all means.

I would be laughing, too, if I found childish grudges humorous. As it is, I'm a father of three kids — including twin 11-year-old boys — and I see enough of this on a daily basis.

No leader from either side of the aisle should accept this ridiculous behavior of party players — at least not if a party is to be taken seriously by voters.

Dernulc can't stop a member of his party from filing a complaint. But if a complaint is frivolous, he can figuratively grab the complainer by the earlobe and admonish him or her to kindly knock it off.

I mustered my own attempt at a straight face last week and asked Skinner what she had "liked" on a Democrat's page that put Brauer in such a snit.

As far as Skinner can recall, it was some message from Democrat Smiley to her Facebook friends, asking for them to meet her on Election Day.

Does Brauer truly think Skinner's clicking of the "Like" button on a Facebook comment constitutes a betrayal of party loyalty worthy of a formal complaint?

I don't know because I didn't hear back from him.

I suspect it had more to do with Brauer recently being called out on his personal use of a township-owned vehicle, frequently parked outside his private business and home. I wrote about this in a column last week, and Skinner also has been critical of Brauer's use of the vehicle.

Brauer needs to take responsibility for his actions without dredging up a ridiculous complaint. And this three-person panel of GOP peers, yet to be named as of Monday, should find a way to send Brauer to the timeout corner.

Investigative Editor Marc Chase can be reached at (219) 662-5330 or marc.chase@nwi.com. The opinions are the writer's.

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