Perkins Township fiscal clerk Diane Schaefer might be in over her head when it comes to computer programs that calculate withholding taxes for township employees, but you better believe she understands the township's gag order.
Schaefer initially denied any problem existed when she was contacted last week by a Register reporter about some employees getting dunned by local tax authorities because their taxes were not being paid.
That denial must have been some kind of fib, because Schaefer later acknowledged the problem, blaming it on a computer program.
We're not naive; Schaefer is not the first local politician who has attempted to deceive a reporter. We are surprised, however, by her reaction to the reporter's questions. Rather than talk about what she was doing to fix the problem, Schaefer was bound and determined to find out who told the reporter about the problem.
There's a spokesperson policy, Schaefer said, and nobody who works for the township can talk about township issues without prior permission.
Good Old Perkins Township -- where the U.S. Constitution and the First Amendment do not apply. That's just downright frightening. Politicians -- who are practiced in the art of deception -- are the only ones associated with the township who are allowed to speak about township issues.
Trustees are irresponsible in leaving the gag order in place. It's shameful and it is not the American way.
And Schaefer should practice being truthful and quit playing detective trying to enforce a reprehensible policy.