Gaines GOP chairman says committee has been dysfunctional

Posted 9 September 2016 at 9:41 pm


This letter is for the members of the Republican Party who live in the Town of Gaines. I would like to set the story straight with what has been going on for the last two years within your nominating committee. Your committee has become dysfunctional.

In 2015 we were seeking candidates for the position of Town Supervisor. We only had one person interested in the position, Carol Culhane, who was seeking endorsement for a third, two-year term. Some of those on the committee thought she was doing a good job and her heart was in the right place. However, they did not want to endorse her because she wasn’t running the town their way.

The current nominating committee wants to be able to control town officials. Carol Culhane had to pass her own petitions to get on the Republican ticket.

In June of this year our committee held interviews for Town Clerk. The interviews took place on June 4 at Tillman’s Village Inn. I was expecting six of the eight committeemen to interview and possibly endorse a new town clerk for the 2016 election. Five minutes before the interview was to begin Lisa Mannella sends me a text message stating she could not make the interview, then two minutes after that Lorienda Smith sends me a text message stating she could not attend as well. I was left with a committee of three people and one proxy from Susan Heard because she was going to the Republican Ball that night and did not want to spend all day Saturday doing Republican business.

Consequently we had a unofficial interview, but we could not endorse Sharon Harding because I was left without a quorum. Sharon Harding had to pass her own petitions to get on the Republican ticket, which is part of our committee’s jobs.

Why did Lisa Mannella and Lorienda Smith not want to endorse Sharon Harding? They wanted to endorse Lori Grube, who was also a deputy clerk for our previous Town Clerk, Jean Klatt. Lori is also, you guessed it, Joseph Grube’s wife. I spoke with Lori and she told me she was no longer interested in the Town Clerk position and did not want to have an interview.

As you can see some of our committee people have a vested interest in the town government. Lisa Mannella announced at a meeting that she was on the committee to protect her husband Ron Mannella, your highway superintendent. At the last interview for highway superintendent she did not recuse herself while we interviewed Ron.

This spring I collected a full sheet of signatures for Bruce Blanchard and myself because he and I represent District 2. Then I picked up our committeemen’s petitions for the Town of Gaines. However, Bruce Blanchard did not collect any signatures. He told me he did not want to be on the committee because he didn’t have enough time, his kids were still young.

I told Bruce he would have to decline his position in order to get off the committee. I called to remind him to go to the Board of Elections to decline his position of Republican committeeman, but he was conveniently out of town.

I believe when you are on a committee, a person needs to think for themselves. Lorienda Smith is a person who follows the crowd even though they are going in the wrong direction.

On Tuesday, September 13, the voters will decide what kind of people they want to represent them on the Republican committee. We need honest, independent-thinking individuals that have the town’s best interest in mind.

Guy D. Smith

Town of Gaines Republican Chairman