Investigation into local officials

Published 7:00 am Friday, May 13, 2016

The Attorney General’s office is investigating the former chancery clerk and others for alleged misappropriations and other improprieties.
Most people believe this will be ignored and soon forgotten or whitewashed by the state including the predictable results, praise the guilty, punish the innocent.
Considering the possibilities, it is imperative to conduct a comprehensive and unbiased investigation instead of a purely political whitewash. The applicable laws and resulting consequences must be enforced equally, not selectively. Anything less, this will remain a festering sore. Mistrust of government will increase and the county in general will be the loser.
Although the board has known of the occurrence since January 4th, the missing records investigation was finally brought to the public’s attention on March 23rd, but not voluntarily.
It was kept behind the closed doors of those famous executive sessions where the unwashed masses are excluded because they can’t be trusted with the truth, further validating the existence of a self-protecting-government.
After enduring 2 ½ months of silence, frustrated citizens planned to question the board and expose this debacle to the public.
If ordinary citizens exposed the board’s slow motion secret investigation, it would surely damage their credibility and expose the often repeated but laughable expression, “transparency in government”. It was self preservation, not concern for the taxpayers that forced the discussion of the infractions before the public. Had it not been for the persistence of a few citizens, I believe the details of the records removal would not have been publicized.
Corruption in governments has produced a system that is “self serving and self protecting”. Governments neither serve nor protect citizens.
When any hint of corruption surfaces, the self protection system immediately goes on autopilot and the citizens are pushed aside and self protection becomes the dominant goal. Everyone knows the procedure; it’s regimented like a fire drill. No one has to provide instructions to keep quiet and don’t become involved lest you suffer the wrath of the unseen hand directing the self-protecting machine. A government machine will only accomplish what it was designed to do, eventually rule the individual.
Unless the people are watchful, it will turn on them regardless of any “safeguards.” As with all corrupt systems, it feeds itself.
If a minority of board members disagree with the majority and expose corruption, they face possible lost votes and rejection of district improvements from the majority of the board, thereby punishing the citizens of that district.
The same is true for other elected officials. Along those same lines, any arrests could trigger lost votes and reduction in budgets.
The machine’s trademark is awarding preferential treatment to some by applying the law selectively instead of equally.
Those hired to work in government are the most vulnerable and although deeply held principles may encourage them to speak out for right above wrong, they are reluctant for fear of retaliation. We are better than this.
The system is so dependent on funding, re-election and employment its integrity is impaired, leaving the helpless taxpayers swamped in its wake.

By Jeff Smith

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