Chesterton Tribune



Chesterton Town Council's last word on Bob Allison

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The Chesterton Town Council ended its first in-person meeting in months on Monday night by revisiting, just for a moment, the tortured resignation of former member, Bob Allison.

President Sharon Darnell, D-4th, read the following statement on behalf of her colleagues:

“A little over a week ago, remarks made on Facebook by Bob Allison went viral. Those hurtful comments were his own, unsolicited and certainly not endorsed by any of the other members of this council. In trying to clean up those remarks, Mr. Allison made an insincere apology and tried to cast blame elsewhere. He initially indicated his intention to resign from the council before appearing to change his mind. Ultimately, he made the right decision.

“As elected officials, we are not capable of removing our fellow council members. I want to be clear that Mr. Allison’s statements were his own. In this instance, the four other council members did what we felt was right in denouncing his statements and calling on Mr. Allison to resign. Statements such as those made by Mr. Allison on social media are not productive, whether or not they are meant as a joke. They are hurtful, derisive, and have no place in the public discourse.

“I hope this is the last word on the matter. This town is a great place to live, work, and visit, but there is much for this council to do to make Chesterton a better place. This council needs to get back to the jobs we were elected to do and to strive to honor the positions to which we are entrusted.”

There was no further comment by members and the meeting was then adjourned.

Earlier in the evening, however, Chesterton resident Rodney Pol Jr. read a lengthy statement from the floor on the issue of Allison.

Excerpts from that statement:

“My comments tonight are for Mr. Allison. Although he rightfully resigned, some of his comments leave issues that must be addressed. . . .

“We understand that you were a first-time office holder. . . , that you may not appreciate how impactful it is to hold office or what it means to truly represent a constituency.

“We understand that you think you were just joking with your friend when you said to straight-blade protestors in Hammond. . . , that you’ve likely never been the target of racism or how that impacts a person. . . , that you think your comments are being blown out of proportion because in your heart you don’t believe you’re racist or would ever actually hurt a person because of their skin. . . , that you may not pay attention to the events around race because they may not affect you personally in Chesterton.

"We understand that some people might be telling you not to resign because this is being ‘blown out of proportion’ and claiming you were just practicing ‘freedom of speech.’

“We understand that people make mistakes. . . , that people can learn from those mistakes. . . , that you would like to continue to represent this community and just put this all behind you.

“You have to understand that in that seat, you represent all of us and the reputation of this town at all times. . . , that you were not telling a harmless knock-knock joke.

“You have to understand that staying in that seat would have meant that your ‘jokes’ were okay for an elected Chesterton official to broadcast on the most public forum we’ve ever known. . . . It was not some secret recording from the locker room. You have to understand that that alone begs the question: ‘If he openly jokes about killing people against racism, how much worse are his private jokes?’ . . .

“You have to understand that there is a reason that the people you claim supported you in secret did not do so publicly, because they knew it was wrong. That should have been painfully obvious.

“You have to understand that your actions have consequences. You have to understand that you will need to learn from your mistakes. You have to understand that you will do so on your time, not ours. You have to understand that by not resigning, you would have made it clear that you do not understand any of this.”



Posted 6/9/2020




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