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Board appointment process continues to draw frustration from Schererville Republicans

Michael Gallenberger
Lakeshore Public Media

The majority of the Schererville Town Council appears to be sticking with their Republican appointment to the town's board of safety, despite concerns that he doesn't yet meet the state's definition of a Republican.

Last December, Giovanni Veitkus was appointed to fill a mid-term vacancy, despite opposition from the council's Republican members. But he apparently resigned, after it was discovered that he didn't meet the state's two-primary rule.

Last month, council member Caleb Johnson made a motion to appoint former public works director Jeff Huet to fill the seat. "We did receive an application from a qualified Republican for that position, someone well-known to this town and this town council," Johnson said.

But that appointment was denied by a vote of three-to-two. Council President Tom Schmitt noted that Huet still works for the town part-time.

Instead, he wants to wait until early primary voting starts, to give Veitkus a chance to qualify as a Republican. "We have a gentleman that was appointed in December for that position who has active police background and safety background, plus he's a businessman. He owns his business," Schmitt said.

A similar motion to appoint Anthony Ferraro to the position in February also failed. During last month's meeting, Ferraro accused council members of playing politics with public safety.

"I thought perhaps to shame you, maybe even to berate you — at the very least, jog into you the fact that you're tasked to lead this community and do what's in the best interest of the community," Ferraro told council members.

Meanwhile, resident Jeff Minard argued that it should be up to the Republican council members to nominate Republican board members. "I, overall, love this town, and I appreciate all the things in this town," Minard said. "But maybe I was naive to see the partisanship that I've witnessed, and I just hope that you reevaluate things and really try to vote fairly."

Schmitt said the council would revisit the appointment at next week's meeting, scheduled for the day after the start of early voting.

Michael Gallenberger is a news reporter and producer that hosts All Things Considered on 89.1 FM | Lakeshore Public Media.