Better East Texas: Conduct of Elected Local Officials - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Better East Texas: Conduct of Elected Local Officials

By Pat Stacey

We have recently seen a betrayal of trust by local public servants that should really give us a reason to pause. 

Perhaps you are familiar with the story about Van Zandt County Commissioner Ricky LaPrade and his conviction on the misuse of county property and now we have a number of arrests in the Smith County Precinct 3 office where several deputy constables and perhaps some others have been accused of misusing county property by allegedly operating a security patrol after hours using their county patrol cars. 

We don't know how the Smith County case will end but it sure seems that in both of these cases, we have those who have pledged to uphold the law and protect the public interest, violating the trust placed in them. 

While our local officials need to be trusting of their employees, we cannot operate absent some accountability and oversight.  No county employee and for that matter, no city employee anywhere should be allowed to operate in a vacuum where they have no mechanism for measuring their conduct. 

It is not fair to them and it is not fair to taxpayers.  No county or city government should be allowed to get so big that the culture of accountability is lost and it is up to our elected officials to make it happen and this needs to be a topic of this year's campaign discussions.  Keeping our tax dollars working in accordance with local laws is a must and it will make for a Better East Texas.

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