The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.
Last week saw two high-profile officials resign from public office. Warrensburg Park Director David Curtis resigned after the Park Board overturned a personnel decision and County Recorder of Deeds Laurie Mifflin resigned as part of a plea agreement.
David Curtis had no choice. Without knowledge of the specifics of the personnel action, the basic principle still applies: whenever a manager's personnel actions are overturned by a public body, the manager can no longer effectively manage the function. In this case, the supporters of a swimming coach convinced the Park Board that keeping them happy was more important than backing the Board's manager. We have seen similar occurrences in college athletic venues, where alumni desires can force out a college president and retain a coach.
Political considerations gave Laurie Mifflin the best deal possible under the circumstances. While no public funds were missing, the appearance of mishandling was clear and, if news reports are to be believed, much more serious charges could have been levied. By resigning from office she leaves it to be filled by the Governor; it is rather certain that he will appoint a Republican. The newly appointed Recorder of Deeds will face election in 2006 as an incumbent, a distinct advantage in a county where local offices are often competitive.
Both Curtis and Mifflin acted in the best interest of the public by resigning their offices; we should wish them well in their future endeavors.
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