Message To GOP Elected Officials: Why Can't We All Just Get Along

By Jeff Neumeyer

September 6, 2011 Updated Sep 6, 2011 at 4:46 PM EST

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Local politicians get a lesson in the art of "getting along".

There was a gathering of republican elected officials Tuesday at party headquarters on Main Street, where those attending were treated to a lecture on civility.

The meeting wasn’t so much on relations between republicans and democrats, but on how republicans need to work together better with other republicans.

That’s critical, considering that in Allen County Government politics, republicans hold all the offices.

Lately that hasn’t stopped bickering on some key budget issues.

Presbyterian Minister Thomas Smith was summoned by party chairman Steve Shine to address elected officials, with the main message being, "We can disagree without being disagreeable."

Last month, hard feelings erupted when county council voted to force county employees to pick up some of their own retirement contribution, a decision that will deduct money from employee paychecks.

The county commissioners responded by proposing health and life insurance benefits be cut to part-time employees, which would include the county council.

Therese Brown/(R) Allen County Commissioner: " I think it's one of those situations where that may have been the issue, but it was the tipping point of dialogues that needed probably to be addressed, on how we do business in Allen County, and how we communicate."

Steve Shine/Allen County Republican Chairman: " We're not asking for anyone to be politically neutered, as I stated, nor are we asking anyone to give up their positions on any ideas, it's just the manner in which things are presented."

Shine hoped the message delivered by Reverend Smith would not come across as condescending.

About two dozen elected officials took part in the event.




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