By Ryan Miner
It’s not uncommon for newspapers like The Herald-Mail to take definitive positions supporting or opposing community issues that directly affect the public, especially when the issue centers around, ethics, public trust and education.
In an absolutely brutal editorial, The Herald-Mail editorial board shreds Mike Guessford’s latest ethics fiasco, writing,
Guessford’s company, Applause Caterers, did business with the schools, even though he inaccurately denied any such activity on disclosure forms designed to identify possible conflicts of interest. He also voted on public contracts that involved a business partner of his, a breach of ethics that would be obvious to middle school students.
Board member and Guessford ally Karen Harshman chalked it up to an oversight, a simple “mistake” that has been pounced upon by complainants with a political ax to grind.
Ouch. But there is more.
Anyone who is astute enough to run a business and get elected to office, it would seem, should understand the significance of paperwork to which he is signing his name. For Guessford, there is no good explanation. Did he disregard ethics forms? Does he lack the ability to understand simple yes-no questions? Did he knowingly avoid disclosure for fear of losing his contracts with the school system?
But the most depressing turn has come in the form of Guessford’s comments after the panel ruled. He has failed to take responsibility for his actions.
Now the gut shot:
Instead, our children are seeing at the head of the school system an individual who effectively cheats on a test and then refuses to admit it, instead trying to tar his classmates with suspicion.
Children are particularly good at recognizing a leader. Let’s hope they are equally good at recognizing the opposite of leadership and that they take pains not to follow Guessford’s example.
In summary: Washington County school kids shouldn’t be like Mike Guessford.
To read The Herald-Mail’s scathing editorial in full, click here.