Opinion

A tale of little to no consequences

An editorial from The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — What would a work week be without someone making a mistake or two?

But these are no stupid miscues or even what you might excuse as bad judgment we refer to below.

No, these boo-boos are of the criminal nature and they were made by men and women in a public capacity.

One was an elected official, some were public employees, one was a coal miner and the others, nurses, who concerned, sort of, a state professional board.

None of it surprised us. It happens in the private sector, too, every week. However, what is shocking is that in each of these instances of abusing the public trust, the consequences were soft.

We ’ll start from the top:

* Huntington’s City Council opted to take no action against a councilman convicted of domestic battery and violation of a domestic violence petition.

Those charges are misdemeanors. The city’s charter says council members shall be disqualified if they are convicted of a felony.

* A legislative audit reported the state Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses allowed four nurses to return to work despite failing drug tests or not taking them in recent years.

The board’s executive director’s response: “We stand behind our disciplinary process, which we believe is very strong.”

* A White Sulphur Springs mail carrier admitted to federal charges of selling drugs about 100 times while on his rounds. He was sentenced to three years of probation, four months home confinement and community service.

* Four Kanawha County school service personnel were charged with stealing food and supplies from a high school. The vast list of items they stole in recent years ranges from a new industrial vacuum cleaner to hams and turkeys and a 50-pound container of flour. All four were suspended without pay.

* Finally, a coal miner who falsely claimed he was a mine foreman and was qualified to perform mine safety exams was sentenced to two years of probation for falsifying safety records at an Ohio County mine.

We cannot speak for every employer and employee in the private sector. But it’s no stretch to think most would consider the responses or results in each of these cases as light.

Also, in most instances, if these acts were committed by employees in the private sector, these situations would have not begun or ended the same.

Charged with embezzlement, fraudulent schemes and conpiracy? Fired.

Charged with domestic battery and violating a domestic violence petition? Fired.

A state board allowing a nurse to continue practicing after testing positive for drugs she stole from a hospital? Huh?

It could be the public trust is misplaced.

Or it’s altogether mistaken.

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