So if there’s one broad bias that runs through the In Box narrative, it’s that I think government and politicians generally deserve more praise and respect than they get from voters.
But sometimes it’s hard not to shake your head at the shenanigans that public officials get up to. Take the scandal in Jefferson County that involves topless photos of a sheriff’s deputy. This from the Watertown Daily Times.
[I]n the state Supreme Court lawsuit, sheriff’s Deputy Krystal G. Rice, alleges that a detective took topless photographs of her in an online pedophile sting and that those photographs no longer can be accounted for.
Then there’s the simmering crisis in Lake Placid, where the school district superintendent is under siege from voters for describing some female staff members as “bitches,” and where the high school and middle school principal abruptly left her post last week.
This from the Adirondack Daily Enterprise:
Earlier in the evening, former middle-high school Principal Robert Schiller…said [superintendent Randy] Richards has exhibited “behavior unbecoming of a school leader, flawed decision making, retribution in the workplace, lack of respect for work environment, lack of effective communication, disregard for parents’ needs and concerns, and lack of long-range planning designed to return the district to a place of excellence in the North Country.”
This next story falls outside our region, but I just stumbled across reports that public school teachers in Buffalo were granted free plastic surgery as part of the contract — a deal signed off on by school district officials.
Last year, that provision cost taxpayers $5.9 million according to the Buffalo News.
The cost fluctuates from year to year because the district pays out of pocket for every procedure, rather than paying a set premium to an insurance company.
The benefit is used by about 500 people a year — less than 2 percent of those who are eligible for it.
Yikes. In this age when governments, politicians, and public employees face constant criticisms and attacks, you’d think officials and union leaders would be smarter than that.
These scandals aren’t just gossip. They have real-world impacts.
The sexual harassment case that forced Harrietstown supervisor Larry Miller out of office cost taxpayers $30,000 in settlement costs. The sheriff’s office case in Jefferson County has sparked a $50 million lawsuit.
And in Lake Placid, it’s possible that the on-going turmoil in the district could convince people to vote against this year’s district budget, an outcome that could seriously disrupt education programs.
How do you see these cases? Outliers? Rare exceptions that draw most of the media coverage? What’s your view generally of local government in the North Country?