The City Recorder of Deeds in St. Louis recently requested a new car or a monthly car allowance of $700. Cars are provided for many city employees but there is so much more to this crazy story.
You see, the Recorder was forced to resign because she violated the state’s nepotism statute. Prior to that there were two accidents with her city car. Both accidents happened with her husband at the wheel of the car. The city policy states that no family members are allowed to drive city provided automobiles. Another violation of the rules. But wait, it gets worse.
The Recorder receives a $4200.00 a month city pension from her first stint at Recorder. Yes, I said first. After resigning her position for the nepotism statute violation she ran again for Recorder of Deeds and won! I guess she knew a good thing when she saw it. The position comes with a $97,000.00 annual salary. And yes, that is on top of the pension she continues to draw.
I believe when you take public office you do so in service of the people in your jurisdiction. Is government supposed to look like that? In this situation, to me, it looks like a total lack of accountability to the people who elected her.
Why do we allow this to happen? Why do we re-elect someone who has shown total disregard for policy, statute and doing what is right? Every time we elect someone with this type of track record we simply say, “Accountability doesn’t matter to us.” Accountability is keeping your commitments to people. No position or amount of power relieves someone from that responsibility.
How can we expect our leaders to be accountable if our actions don’t say accountability is important to us? How can we expect our elected officials to be accountable if we are not willing to help them be accountable by voting them out of office?
We have a choice, reinforce the lack of accountability in others or set a standard and reinforce high moral standards and an absolute adherence to accountable practices. What will it be for you?