All too frequently news accounts of sordid personal dealings have caused otherwise valued and responsible public officials to have government employment terminated. In recent months the city of Carmel has experienced the discomfort of two of its hired consultant’s personal activities with woman being held to scrutiny.
In the first matter resolved earlier this year, the city’s arts director had his government advising contract terminated due to an actual conviction in Marion County for soliciting a prostitute. Irrespective of one’s feelings as to whether this individual’s years of valued assistance to the Carmel community should have insulated this one time mistake from termination, a reasoned argument can be made that continued government expenditures paid to such an individual was not warranted.
Although my personal belief is that it is society as a whole who will suffer due to the termination of this otherwise talented individual who grew the Central Indiana arts presence to places it had not before reached; it is clearly within a local municipality’s rights to terminate taxpayer funded employment as a result of a violation of law, no matter how minor.
When determining criminal punishment the interests of society are always a factor that a judge must take into account in preserving the long term best interests of the communities in which we live.
I submit for lower level first offense cases of a personal nature (solicitation) it is in fact society as a whole whose long term interests are not served when a disproportionate adverse effect on a local community can result from the decision to terminate such a man for a relatively minor offense. On such occasions one’s own personal relationship with a spouse and/or family will likely cause far more pain and anguish than the pronouncement of criminal punishment by a presiding judge.
Nonetheless, my personal views on that matter non withstanding, it is difficult for me to make an impassioned argument as to why the City of Carmel was not well within its right to terminate government employment based upon such personal conduct where said conduct results in a public criminal conviction.
As political officials, government actors must always make decisions reflective of what they believe is the consensus of the local citizenry for whom they represent. Where a more liberal community might give such a valued public servant a pass, a more conservative community, in this case Carmel, chose not to.
Refreshingly, the city of Carmel has thus far chosen a different path in regard to the continued employment of a former Marion County auditor now employed as a financial advisor to the city.
News reports have not been kind to this gentlemen in the wake of a criminal arrest where he was the purported victim of a robbery; a robbery allegedly formulated at the behest of a 21 year old companion more than half his age he had formerly met online.
Reports have circulated that this individual met his young friend as a result of his use of a “sugar daddy” website. Promoted as a means in which elder gentlemen can be in the company of young woman with the implicit understanding that financial offerings will be provided, this public official who I will not publicly name has become victimized not only by his physical attackers but by solacious media reports as to his questioned personal relationship with the young woman in question.
With the declared statement that this individual’s employment with Carmel will not be discontinued based upon merely unsavory speculation, I applaud the city council of this city who up to this point has taken what I believe to be the correct enunciated response.
Whether a principled position or the fear of wrongful termination litigation motivated the city’s present position is unclear. However, where one’s personal dealings are not unlawful, continued government employment should be predicated upon competency for one’s delegated civic responsibilities and not the moral judgement of politically elected public officials.