It seems like there are stories coming from the state auditor’s office every day about corrupt public officials who have taken taxpayer money and used it in some way for their own personal gain. Even if it’s not every day, it’s often enough to make you sick. As a taxpayer I don’t like to see money that I’ve worked pretty darn hard for going into someone else’s pocket.
What I do like to see is that there are many other Mississippians just like me who are rejecting the ego-maniacal politicians who have the nerve to run for office even in the wake of either overwhelming evidence of corruption or intense scrutiny for what may have been financial misdeeds.
The first one who comes to mind is Vicksburg Mayor Paul Winfield, who will be leaving June 30 to make way for State Rep. George Flaggs, thanks to the Vicksburg voters. Two scandals was apparently the limit for them. Winfield had already been accused of sexually harassing a city employee when he was arrested by the FBI and charged with taking bribes to steer a city disaster contract.
A normal person, who is not an ego maniac, would have stepped aside. After all, is discretion not the better part of valor? Instead Winfield believed somehow that it was in the best interest of the citizens of Vicksburg to have a mayor who was in a battle for his freedom with the FBI and prosecutors who presented enough evidence for an indictment on charges that he took part in at least one shady deal.
The good news is, Vicksburg said no.
Now to Southaven, where Mayor Greg Davis has announced he will leave a couple of days early, turning in his resignation for June 28. Why not when this whole scandal got started, or at least when the order came from the state auditor’s office for him to pay back over a hundred thousand dollars of city money used for his own entertainment?
Not only did Davis not resign, but he, like Winfield, believed the citizens of Southaven needed another four-year dose of a bad-medicine mayor, a guy whose karma has come back to kick him in the butt big time.
It just confounds me that someone who has on-going litigation with the state and who has refused to pay back tens of thousands that an investigations shows he owes, sees fit to put his constituency through the muck into which he has dragged himself and his family already.
The key here is money. Both of these men are not only ego maniacs, but are obviously overwhelmingly dedicated, not to the people who elected them, but to a public paycheck, which obviously was not enough for them to begin with anyway.
What is encouraging is the also overwhelming rejection of these men by those voters. No matter how much completely misplaced self-confidence they have in themselves, the voters made the right choice. Since they would not quit and get while the gettin’ was good, they were fired by the people who hired them.
So, the point is, congratulations Vicksburg and Southaven on ridding yourselves of scandals that could have plagued you for another four years, had these men had their way. Now it’s up to them to sort out their dirty laundry out of the public eye.
OP ED Policy: We welcome qualified Op Ed pieces to be published on this website. In the interest of balance, if an opposing opinion piece is submitted, we will run that also. The News Mississippi Editorial Staff reserves the right to publish at its discretion.
This piece reflects the views of News Dir. Chris Davis and is not an editorial consensus.