Sometimes you just have to wait for greatness to shine through. Don Wright’s editorial is just that. He waited, did some homework and wrote a pretty decent article. I was flattered to be mentioned in the same article as Jeanne Morris, Bill Funderburg and others but not surprised that Don and I agree on the issue of Melody Lucas.
You see, even two old dudes like us have the intelligence to respect someone else’s opinion especially when it’s right. Don Wright was dead on in his assessment of the current debacle in the commissioner’s office. Yes, it’s still current because even though it probably isn’t showing up on their agenda, they have failed to act on a problem that was brought before them, namely theft in office by an employee and the subsequent investigation of that theft by a law enforcement agency.
Since the person was terminated either by the commissioners or on her own, it would seem that there is some merit to the charges against her. However, those charges which are just hanging out there right now, are gaining company by the commissioner’s non action.
The dictionary gives these explanations of malfeasance in office… Misconduct: conduct by a public official that cannot be legally justified or that conflicts with the law. Unlawful act: an act carried out by a public official that cannot be legally justified or that conflicts with the law
If further prosecution of the former EMA director after an investigation shows that there was an unlawful wrong doing isn’t going to happen, probably the rest of us should have an explanation of why. It looks like perhaps the commissioners have a duty to act or face the same investigative process.
Then there is nonfeasance in office.
Failure to meet legal obligations: in law, the omission of some act that is expected to have been performed.
I suppose that they don’t really have to do anything, but it seems that the rest of us expect that our office holders will protect our assets as they were sworn by law to do. Don’t know about you but I expected this to happen.
Then there is misfeasance n. management of a business, public office or other responsibility in which there are errors and an unfortunate result through mistake or carelessness, but without evil intent and/or violation of law. Misfeasance is distinguished from “malfeasance” which is conduct in violation of the law. (See: malfeasance)
Have errors been committed? Sort of looks like it. I’m just reading explanations here but anyone who can understand what they are reading would have an expectation that the actions of everyone involved in this fiasco fall under one of these headings. You don’t have to be a law school graduate to figure this one out.
It’s probably going to take a Freedom of Information Request for all of the involved documents from this incident to make sense of it because our commissioners who want us to be so open with them on our wants, don’t want to be so open with the rest of us on a problem that has cost the county a considerable amount of money. Right now it’s do as I say and not as I do. Once again a double set of standards. There can only be one reason for public officials to act like this and that is a cover-up of something or the actions of someone.
Neither Don nor I are getting any younger. There have been people who have told us both to shut up and let it lay. Go away, don’t mess with stuff. Someone needs to stay on top of crap like this because in this case, the checks and balances that our forefathers thought they wrote into our laws aren’t working.
The legislative, judicial and administrative branches are supposed to keep each other in check. The assumption in this way of doing things is that all involved are honorable. If these three people want us to believe that they are honorable, the decision making process on this matter needs to be revisited. There is a quote that is attributed to Pres. Lincoln that goes like this: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”
It is clear that all of us have not been fooled by this deal. The commissioners have placed themselves in a precarious position by their actions and inactions. The next election that a commissioner is up for re-election should be a dandy. It will be for the seat that is held by Mr. Stegall. If any of you have ever aspired to run for public office that would be the time to run!
I didn’t mention the school board issue because it pretty much makes me sick, but I agree with Don on that also. At least in the case of the BOE, it’s just a case of not understanding how things are supposed to work and that micromanagement isn’t why they are in existence. The Commissioners is a little different deal!
Robert Rhoades is a citizen columnist and can be reached via email at email@example.com. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.