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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It Happens Sometimes...

Not often can I say I agree with anything the Bristol Herald Courier Editorial Board writes. On the subject of former St Paul, Va Mayor Jack Kiser (my previous post about Kiser) I totally agree with the BHC Edt board-

Real Punishment Is Ban On Holding Public Office

By Bristol Herald Courier Editorial Board
Published: February 8, 2009

On Tuesday, former St. Paul, Va., Mayor Jack Kiser pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of obstruction of justice and destruction of records.

He admitted to telling police not to patrol certain areas and to instructing them to release people who had been arrested. He admitted to destroying court summonses, denying police officers access to the town hall, trying to stop a state police investigation and telling town police officers to divert traffic around state and county road checks.

He received little punishment for an admitted pattern of abuse of power that went on for years.

In a plea deal from Wise County Commonwealth Attorney Ron Elkins, Kiser agreed to 12 months of suspended jail time, six months of probation and a $1,000 fine for each of the misdemeanor offenses.

Elkins said his office took action after receiving complaints from St. Paul residents. “I just felt like we had a duty to check them out,” he said. A special grand jury investigation led to the charges against Kiser and four others.

Kudos to Elkins for taking action. “I know it goes on probably in places other than Wise County, but we just don’t put up with it,” he told the Herald Courier.

Yet St. Paul residents did put up with this malfeasance for many years. Kiser admitted this abuse of power occurred over four terms of office as town mayor and he alternated that service with terms spent as a Wise County supervisor.

How many police officers were bullied? How many summonses were “lost?” How many complaints were made to others who wouldn’t listen or were afraid to act?

There’s really no way to know.

And for some unexplainable reason, Kiser, 70, never seems to lose his following. Even after being charged last year, he lost his most recent re-election bid by only three votes. Many supporters insist he was framed and have posted their words of support for him online at the end of our story announcing his guilty plea. Others celebrate his admission of guilt.

But following his plea, Kiser can no longer hold elected office. That is his real punishment.

The suspended jail time and $2,000 total fine are a pittance. Keeping Kiser from a position of public trust in the future is the best news for St. Paul, which, like any town, needs credible leaders who follow the law.

Thunderous Applause to Foster and crew! To be honest...It feels good to agree with the BHC...Even if it only happens twice a year.

Anyway, the real winners in this story are the residents of St Paul. Kiser was a black mark on the town and his law breaking went on for 8 years. Kiser still has his fans as the op-ed above states, but years from now when they look back at those * years under Kiser's rule, one word will sum it up ~ Wasted.

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