Taxpayers deserve complete honesty

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 9, 2008

When it comes to knowing that their tax dollars are being handled and spent properly, Lawrence County residents deserve full disclosure from the moment any potential problem occurs.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen recently regarding an alleged theft of tax dollars, an incident that has shaken many taxpayers’ faith in the system and their belief that those responsible for any wrongdoing will be dealt with appropriately.

The community only recently learned that a former county employee is under investigation for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars. The issue has been sent to the prosecutor for investigation but county leaders have been aware of it for weeks — or even months — with virtually nothing said publicly until now.

Email newsletter signup

Everyone deserves a fair trial and should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. But, when it comes to tax money and public employees, even the fact that an investigation is ongoing should be made public and brought to light.

While it can be argued that elected leaders within the county have done the right thing by allowing this investigation to continue in secret, we believe that all parties involved have made a grave error by not being more up front with the status of the investigation.

The slow progress and lack of public information has only created the perception that this incident — and maybe others like it — is being covered up to save the reputations of those involved.

Revealing the truth and sharing that with the public should be the highest priority in this type of situation. Anything else will only serve to promote the rumors and hearsay that are often more damaging than the truth.

Now is time for the prosecutor and other affected county officeholders to move forward quickly and bring this matter to a close in a public forum. That is the only way the public’s faith in our government will be cemented.

Tax dollars are the lifeblood for governments to operate, many times voters are asked to approve these increases.

For that to happen, citizens have to know their money is being well spent and

handled properly.