The Commonwealth Iconoclast

A site dedicated to covering issues relevant to the Commonwealth of Virginia, and nation at large, plus other interesting things too, as I see fit...

Friday, December 09, 2005

COONDOGS AND THE PUBLIC TRUST


Those of us who have regular dealings with public officials, including federal, state and local officials in all kinds of departments, agencies, and offices and in the field, know that most of these people are very hard working, dedicated and honest people who are doing important work so that all the rest of us can enjoy what we have come to know as civilization in America.

Face it, with out these people, we wouldn’t have streets and roads, water and sewer, bridges, schools, much of our health care, street lights, parks, airports, police or fire protection, national defense, the list goes on and on. These people who do the important work to make these things happen are sometimes invisible and they don’t often get the credit they so richly deserve.

Also, I would like to think that here in America we enjoy perhaps the most consistently honest and fair governmental systems to be found anywhere on the face of the earth.

And then, I wake up to my morning edition of the Richmond Times Dispatch and I become depressed and disappointed when I read the latest report from Abingdon and the continuation of the “Coondog Trials.” This is about greed and corruption and the breech of public trust.

This most recent report is only the latest in this long and depressing story about corrupt governmental officials in cahoots with equally corrupt contractors to cash in on federal disaster aid resulting from the 2002 floods out in Buchanan County, Virginia. Thus far, more than a dozen former Southwest Virginia officials and contractors have pled guilty as a result of this mess.

I am not going to rehash the details of this pitiful story about public officials who sold out their integrity and the public interest for cash kickbacks, favorable land deals, NASCAR tickets, bid rigging and coon dogs, but you can read about it in the BRISTOL HERALD COURIER.

The main point I would like to make here is that this bad behavior by a few corrupt public officials undermines public confidence in government and harms all other innocent public officials who are working hard to do a good honest job.

The moral to this story is that all public officials, whatever level, federal, state, or local, and what ever their responsibility, must always keep in mind the sacred nature of the public trust and must strive to maintain only the highest standards of public integrity.

Do it for your self and do it for all your brothers and sisters who serve the public with honor and integrity every day. Also do it so that all of us can continue to enjoy what we know as civilization in America.

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