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Big majority supports removal of GOP party chief

Big majority supports removal of GOP party chief

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A large majority—93 percent—of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll support County Executive Maggie Brooks’ decision to seek the resignation of Monroe County Republican Committee chairman Stephen Minarik III. He had served as county GOP party chief since 1992.
During Minarik’s tenure as chairman, the party won election of three Republican county executives and county clerks, and regained and maintained control of the county Legislature. However, he drew criticism for a style that some saw as highly partisan and divisive.
Seventy-one percent of respondents said Minarik’s 16-year tenure had a negative impact on the community, while 29 percent rated it positively.
Roughly 700 readers participated in this week’s poll, which was conducted June 30. More than four in 10 respondents identified themselves as enrolled Republicans.

What is your opinion of Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks’ decision to remove Stephen Minarik III as county Republican committee chairman?
I support it: 93%
I oppose it: 7%

Looking back on Stephen Minarik’s 16-year tenure as local GOP party chairman, how do you view his overall impact on the community?
Negative: 71%
Positive: 29%

What is your political affiliation?
Republican: 45%
Democrat: 25%
Non-affiliated: 25%
Other: 5%

Here are some readers’ comments:

The removal of Mr. Minarik as the county GOP chairman is one of the most positive developments in our community in a decade. He has not only been (divisive) and partisan … self-serving. He was the poster boy for partisan politics at its worst. Hopefully our elected officials will now be able to make decisions based upon the best interests of their constituents rather than what will make Mr. Minarik happy.
—Jeff Luellen

Steve did a magnificent job over the years and his results show that, but there are times when a new vision is needed and perhaps when we have given all we can. I can only hope the next chairman is willing and able to see that if the party is to continue leading that we need to work closer with our Hispanic families.
—Octavio Garcia

I have a renewed respect for Maggie for doing this. Minarik has always been a polarizing force of negativity and immaturity. I can’t imagine that the Republican Committee wouldn’t now be relieved that he is no longer representing them.
—Joanne Greene-Blose

Steve was a power to be respected and admired. He knew what he wanted and went after it. The respect for him statewide was overwhelming. He was never at a loss for words, and a driving force. I don’t see anyone in the local Republican landscape that might fill his shoes.
—Don Aselin, Chili

All reasonable people agree that there is nothing we can’t accomplish when both parties work together for the good of the people. The 16 years of Minarik’s partisan politics have done no good for the community, and have given the concept of politics a deeply negative connotation. All Republicans are now suffering as the majority of citizens have had enough and shift to the Democrat Party. Minarik was an arrogant disaster and should have been gone long ago.
—Rick Corey, OpticsProfessionals LLC

Steve Minarik’s political successes were undeniable; so is the damage he did to the civility of our politics and the forward progress of our region. The nation is turning away from the politics practiced by Steve Minarik; and as someone who is an American before he is a Democrat, I am glad to see my Republican friends and neighbors doing the same. Congratulations to Maggie—it was a tough thing to do, no matter how necessary it may have seemed to some of us.
—Peter Holloran, Cognitive Marketing Inc.

Absolutely! It is about time Monroe County starts moving forward. Minarik should have been out a long time ago. He has done nothing but push his own values and torn Monroe County apart. Thank you, Maggie, for standing up and doing something!
—John Waudby, Chili

I do not agree with the way he was unceremoniously removed after giving his heart and soul to the party for 15 years. Ms. Brooks as the leader of the party locally certainly has the right to recommend changes to benefit the party; however, the way it was done was inexcusable. Mr. Minarik’s handling of the situation was first-class, and I admire his professionalism. Good luck to him in the future.
—Mike Bargmann

Divisive politics only leads to wide swings of the pendulum, which cannot serve the community well. Maybe now we can get down to the collaborative problem solving that the county executive promised when she was first elected to the post.
—Andy Vaughan

Steve Minarik conveyed an aura of everything that is negative about politics. I sensed an uncompromising and arrogant style in his approach. Kudos to Maggie for weeding the garden.
—John Dimitry, Coralistic Inc.

I’m not a Republican, but the Republican Party owes its record of electoral success in Monroe County—including Maggie Brooks’ election—largely to Steve Minarik’s bare-knuckle building of the county Republican machine. Having said that, however, “What got you here won’t get you there,” to quote from the best-selling book of that name by executive coach Marshall Goldsmith. Minarik’s style also led to rancor and stalemate between the City and County, to the detriment of both. When Maggie Brooks gave Mayor Bill Johnson the hug seen around the state at her first inauguration, it signaled a new era, a return to a politics of inclusion and cooperation. That’s not Minarik’s style. He needs to leave.
—Dan Ruchman, Ruchman & Associates

Maggie took part in Presentations at RIT by Richard Florida, author of the “Creative Class,” which documented successful economic development in other cities. She must have finally read the book. Better late than never.
—Jim Bertolone, president, Rochester Labor Council

I say let him go, as long as he takes the Renaissance Square project and other government boondoggles with him. But it leads to another question: What will replace him? Will it be worse?
—Chris Meisenzahl, Rochester

As the Monroe County Republican Committee Chairman, Stephen Minarik served at the pleasure of Maggie Brooks, the county executive. Minarik’s adversarial, take-no-prisoners style has not served Maggie Brooks and the Republican Party well over the past several years. The Republican Party has lost much of its recent advantage in party voter registration. To continue to govern successfully, Maggie Brooks needs a party chairman who can work with the Democrats better, just as Mayor Duffy has worked well with Maggie Brooks’ administration.
—Clifford Jacobson, WebHomeUSA Inc.

These types of changes always smack of cronyism and the normal politics that is seen from the local level all the way to the top. Without knowing the facts and having more information, who can say it is or is not justified. Anything else is speculation and just opinions. I suppose the party chairman has to work for someone and if he does not have the favor of that person he is probably out of a job. Politics is a dirty business, and the parties do not get along with each other and come together to create some real progress for the people. They usually reduce themselves to cronyism, vote along party lines to maintain their positions, and collaborate only to push their agenda. You know, you vote for my bill and I’ll owe you one when you need support. But don’t vote for the opposition’s bill, even if it makes sense, because you will lose whatever hope you have of obtaining an influential position. Worse than industry, but there are politics played there also. So perhaps the answer to all this is a clean slate, and vote all of them out and start with some who have not been tainted or owe someone a favor. Tough question to answer, but politics is never fair.
—Bob Stein

This is the man who told Tom Golisano the Republican party didn’t need or want him as a candidate for governor. That was the same year that we later had the first democratic governor since 1994, in a very one-sided election. If you totally ignore all of the other egotistical moves Minarik has made that one screams volumes to his total disregard for every grass-root Republican in NY state.
—Martin Van Dussen

Thank goodness someone decided to oust this aggressive, divisive character. With the countless negative issues our county faces, we can no longer afford to play his style of hardball politics.
—Kathryn Thomas, associate director, Marketing and Communications, Simon Graduate School of Business, University of Rochester

I have become greatly concerned over the politicalization of issues like MCC, the new performance center, and other appointments that Ms Brooks has initiated. We need a spirit of renewal in this community, not a power figure—male or female. As to the performance center, as an example, why could a little city like Appleton, Wisc., build a successful center for $45 million in 2002? Who is selling us the dilapidated property where our center is to be built? That issue has not yet surfaced—will it have political implications? We need a different spirit in Rochester for future growth—I do not see it in Ms Brooks.
—John Larish, principal, Jonrel Imaging Consultants

Minarik is a charter member of the “Good Old Boys Club” that has been running NY politics for too long. He screwed up as State Chair when the GOP lost the governorship and nearly lost the Senate and we got Elliot Spitzer from the Democrats. By keeping him the same thing will happen to the County and other upstate Republicans. It is time for a new person who is in tune with the future and what it takes to win elections in the 21st century.
—Jim Weisbeck

Finally! While his long overdue departure leaves us with multiple officeholders whose elections he enabled (not coincidentally as his advertising agency was the recipient of their campaign funds); hopefully they will all adopt Ms. Brooks newly found spirit of collaboration.
—Tom Burke, Osborn, Reed & Burke, LLP

It would be nice to have a chairman that doesn’t directly profit from political campaigns through his own communications company.
—Carol Corsi, Pioneer

Yes, I will agree that Steve Minarik could be abrasive at times, but he did serve the Republican party well. There seems to be a movement from federal down to local levels to make the Republican party a copy of the Democrat party—it is often difficult to impossible at times to tell the difference anymore. It appears that Maggie Brooks has joined this bandwagon too. Politics has always been partisan, that is how differing ideas are presented and discussed. Now it seems that Republicans just want to agree with Democrats for the sake of some kind of “Unity,” but that is not what has made this country great, it has been the open discussion and disagreement of ideas.
—Jim Wright, Henrietta

The only way to qualify the value of the resignation of Mr. Minarik is to see who his replacement will be. It will be very telling who Ms. Brooks picks as his successor. Mr. Minarik has served the Republican party very well and was compatible with its past direction. My opinion is that local politics was become so disengaged from the will of the taxpaying citizens that the respective political parties have become nothing more than donor payback in the form of multimillion dollar pet projects and corporate welfare for prosperous companies. I hope the next chairman promotes politicians that understand that the real key to community prosperity is rooted in affordable living via lower taxes.
—Lou Romano

Unfortunately, once a party is in power for a while it forgets the core values that got them elected in the first place and the other party or “change party” cycles to power and around and around we go. The Republicans time has come as they have clearly lost their way especially in the core principle of less government is more effective government. Mr. Minarik’s tactics had become long in the tooth and it was time for him to move on.
—Peter Short, J.J. Short Associates, Inc.

I think it’s time for Maggie to step down too. She’s the top County leader, not Minarik, and she’s not getting the job done. What exactly has she done for us lately?
—Pete LaFauci

Just like baseball. When the team is losing, you can’t replace every player. Replace the manager! When the media slants the news daily, whom are you to believe? When the Lonsberrys of our community are not free to speak and the media covers the news with bias, who do you believe? What is the root cause? Did Minarik cause the failure to collaborate? Isn’t there another side? Does submission to the Democrats rule the day? Are the elected officials not the real links in the chain? How does the one person as Party Chairman, who is not elected, is chosen by the elite of the party, hold such absolute power over the elected officials? These are just some questions. It appears that the evidence has either not been disclosed, or the media does not share it. This community is afraid of its own shadow, and is not willing to speak out. In the mean time, Mr. Minarik is the goat.
—Dennis Kiriazides, Xerox Corp., retired

Good riddance. The juvenile and exclusionary politics of Stephen Minarik had been a negative force in the greater Rochester community for as long as I can remember. I can easily say that Stephen Minarik and the GOP of the mid-1990s was the primary reason for my abandonment of the Republican Party. … (He) has cemented his legacy as a shallow greedy attack dog for powers that he ultimately misunderstood—HA! I pray the days of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and now Stephen Minarik will soon be over for ever. The shift toward cooperation and substantive dialog represented by men like Obama and McCain will prevail. It is just a shame that it took so long to suggest that Mr. Minarik go crawl under a rock permanently. Ultimately, I hope the love he gets is equal to the love he gave. You hear me, Steve?
—Trevor Clendenin

From the public defender’s office debacle, to the MCC presidential selection catastrophe—with the Mendon Town Board outrage in between—I’m just surprised it took this long for the county executive to come to her senses. She just earned some high marks in my book.
—Greg Reynolds, East Rochester

Stephen Minarik apparently supports the Karl Rove slash-and-burn style of winning elections. In today’s world, and especially in this state of political and financial dysfunction, we need all the collaboration we can muster. I’m sorry it took Maggie so long, but she gets back in my good graces with this courageous move.
—Alan Ziegler

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