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Best And Worst Of 2010
Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010
As I reflect on all that has transpired in 2010 there are so many scandals to choose from I honestly had a tough time deciding on the top five contenders for my "worst behavior in government list." Of more concern, it was difficult to identify a five really great things happening in the area of government. (I sincerely hope that changes in the coming year.)
I’ll begin with the worst so that we can end on a positive note. The list is incomplete and in no particular order.
· Pay scandal in Bell, California. News that the city manager was drawing more than $800,000 in salary sent shock waves throughout the country and made international news. Made elected officials and administrators look like crooks.
· On-going scandal involving former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. (This is so big it counts as two.)
Currently serving time in prison for earlier offenses, Kilpatrick is now the subject of a new, 38-count indictment by the Federal Grand Jury. A six-year investigation showed he and his father along with other city officials engaged in fraud, corruption, racketeering, extortion, bribery, and other crimes. Using both his former state office and his power as mayor Kilpatrick is accused of extorting millions of dollars from contractors and abusing the public’s trust. As U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade put it: “If you steal from the taxpayers, you are going to be held accountable. Getting out of office does not get you off the hook.”
· Supreme Court decision on Citizens United. This action allows millions of dollars spent on campaigns to go unreported, and opens the door for further erosion of transparency and accountability in political campaigns.
· Representative Charles Rangel. After serving decades in Congress, Rangel stood before his colleagues and was publicly rebuked. The lesson here: no matter how much you do to help your constituents, you have ethical obligations as an elected official. No one is above the law, or above the ethical standards we expect in public servants.
Tomorrow I’ll give my predictions for 2011. In the meantime, let me know what you think of the list. Do you agree? Disagree? What would you add or subtract?
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