Archive for Thursday, September 23, 2004

Public employees undeserving of guilt by association

September 23, 2004

Last week, City Administrator Mike Yanez defended city employees who were at the scene of an unfortunate event from guilt by association.
In a statement released to the press, the city administrator took to task implications that others attending a family birthday party with the fire chief -- who was arrested and charged with criminal damage -- were somehow doing something wrong by simply being at the same event.
We agree with the city administrator's assessment. The alleged destructive actions of suspended Fire Chief Spencer McCabe in an Olathe hotel room were his alone. The other city employees did nothing to violate the law and had understandable reasons to have a birthday celebration in the manner they chose.
The incident has garnered a good deal of press attention, and it is good reporting to identify what happened. Except for those who insist on the stigma of guilt by association, that reporting has done nothing but exonerate the others at the party of actual misdeeds or bad judgment.
Rightly or wrongly, public employees are subject to more scrutiny than those in the private sector. But even with such interest, they shouldn't be held responsible for the actions of others any more so than private citizens.

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