Personal Responsibility From Public Servants – Too Much to Ask?

by Diane Dimond on February 8, 2016

Blind Justice: Laws Apply To All Citizens

Blind Justice: Laws Apply To All Citizens

The law says dangerous or illegal actions have consequences. Countless U.S. citizens enter the justice system every year after authorities determine they did something that physically or emotionally harmed someone, financially cheated another person or exposed people to peril.

So why do government employees so often escape the punishment you or I would face in similar circumstances?

Case in point: In what very nearly looks like a case of federally sponsored child trafficking the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement put countless children at risk yet no one has been held accountable. Beginning in fall of 2011, tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America began to flood across the Mexican border in search of a better life in America. We were not prepared.

According to both the Associated Press and a bi-partisan Senate committee’s findings, overwhelmed ORR caseworkers got sloppy with background checks and placed vulnerable kids – many of whom had traveled thousands of risky miles to get to the U.S. – in “homes where they were sexually assaulted, starved or forced to work for little or no pay.”

Desperate Children From Central America

Desperate Children Come to the US Via Mexico

The AP also reported that at least two dozen children who were released to adults were raped by their sponsors’ associates. Sounds like a sex trafficking enterprise to me. And employees of the United States, by willfully foregoing the usual fingerprinting and identification and criminal background checks, plunked these children down on a path to abuse. Even more frightening, when social workers later tried to perform welfare checks they couldn’t even find many of the kids who came through the ORR system.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement certainly knows the identity of the offending caseworkers, so have any faced dereliction of duty or child endangerment charges? Not that I can determine. In fact, some of these caseworkers may now be handling the latest surprise wave of immigrant children arriving on our border.

A civilian who placed children in such peril would certainly be arrested.

Officials To Flint Residents: Water is Okay

Officials To Flint Residents: Water is Okay

Another example: In April 2014, government officials in Michigan decided the city of Flint would stop using Detroit’s public water system and use water from the Flint River instead. Within weeks citizens complained that their tap water smelled and tasted foul. Flint city officials – from Mayor Dayne Walling to Emergency Manager Darnell Earley — pooh-poohed the idea that something might be wrong. State officials working with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Governor, Rick Snyder, also did nothing to get to the bottom of the problem. On the federal level, the Environmental Protection Agency director for that region, Susan Hedman, recently resigned. I wonder why?

Now we know that corrosive water from the Flint River caused the city’s aging pipes to leach lead into the water supply. Extremely high levels of lead-laced water flowed into homes for more than a year. It is estimated that as many as 12,000 children have massive amounts of lead poisoning in their blood, doomed to a lifetime of health problems including severe mental and physical impairments. The damage done by lead poisoning cannot be reversed.

Pipes Corroded As City, State & Feds Dithered

Pipes Corroded As City, State & Feds Dithered

So, shouldn’t someone – or multiple government employees – be held criminally liable for this person-made crisis? Without such a consequence what’s to stop other government workers from shirking their responsibility to the public?

If a private person or company CEO poisoned a public water supply you better believe they would be arrested.

A final example: Over the last few years, 13 employees of the state of Arizona – A probation officer and a dozen prison guards (male and female) – have been charged with sex crimes against people over which they had authority.  All were offered misdemeanor plea deals with no jail time, not even the guard who had sexual contact with a minor female inmate.  Two former female inmates are now suing the state claiming prison guards raped them and allowed other inmates to do the same.

When a U.S. solider does something wrong he or she faces a courts marshal. When a police officer is suspected of an illegal act he or she faces criminal charges and trial. When county, state or federal employees put others at risk where is the will to hold them accountable?

Government employees work for us and should be held to a high standard of performance. They have job security many in the private sector can only wish they had, their pensions are generous and guaranteed. From those who work within the Washington bureaucracy to the smallest municipal office – no government worker should be immune from prosecution.

 

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane Dimond February 9, 2016 at 11:44 am

Facebook Friend Jackie Morin writes:

“I was watching a story today about a priest who murdered a woman & he never paid for that crime b/c he was protected by the clergy. The point being…..the system takes care of it’s own. People need to fight harder w/i government auspices to put an end to protected crime. Stand at the court house, stand at city hall but just take a damned stand!”

Reply

Diane Dimond February 9, 2016 at 11:53 am

Noozhawk Reader Deapster writes:

“Mexico never should have let them cross their borders. This is Mexico’s problem; not ours.”

Reply

Diane Dimond February 9, 2016 at 11:54 am

Deapster,
Really? So once the 11 million + immigrants come in to America it is MEXICO that must bear the cost to feed, clothe, house and tend to their health care? How, pray tell, does that work? I don’t see MEXICO writing the U.S. a check to cover all this every month. And besides, not all the immigrants are from Mexico. They are from Columbia, El Salvador, Guatemala – etc. ~ DD

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Diane Dimond February 9, 2016 at 11:54 am

Noozhawk Reader AN50 writes:

“Diane, you can’t go around and promote a government controlled economy (from the left), or government controlled security (from the right), if you are convicting that same government of being corrupt and incompetent. So though you make a valid point, it will never see the light of day from our elected representatives.”

Reply

Diane Dimond February 9, 2016 at 11:55 am

AN50,
“I’m not “convicting the government” in this column. I’m simply saying that the relatively few public employees who either commit criminal acts or take actions that hurt the general public (see: Flint, Michigan) ought to be held accountable. You would be arrested and tried if you’d done any of the things I mentioned above….why should public servants be shielded?” ~ DD

Reply

Diane Dimond February 9, 2016 at 11:59 am

Twitter Pal strong4895 writes:

“@DiDimond And Hilary is the biggest criminal of them all but our corrupt government will let her slide.”

Reply

Diane Dimond February 9, 2016 at 12:00 pm

Twitter Pal Saynotodowntime writes:

“@DiDimond Because it’s a rigged game. And our government is mostly full of cheats and liars…”

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Diane Dimond February 9, 2016 at 12:00 pm

Twitter Pal LexRoberts2 writes:

“@DiDimond it’s the same in every country in the world, it’s who you know with corrupted bosses and government officials.// one law for the rich and injustice for the poor!!!”

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Diane Dimond February 9, 2016 at 12:00 pm

BicYea50 writes:

“@DiDimond This why GOV shouldn’t own ANYTHING Private business owner could at least be tried jailed and SUED”

Reply

Mary L February 25, 2016 at 6:31 pm

Seriously?
I’m an employee of a govt agency. I am not a servant, your’s, the public’s or anyone else’s. I work a minimum of 9 hours a day, many weekends, eat my lunch leaning up against a wall because I don’t have time to stop. My health insurance cost less when I paid for it as a business owner, out of pocket. I have no disability insurance, little vacation and I contribute to my own pension. My retirement is a function of my 401K like most people. Forget what you think you know–you are out of date.
My coworkers and I (25000 of us) adhere to a strict code of ethics–avoiding the appearance, not the actual fact of–conflict of interest. I work with a cross section of the most educated segment of the population–folks with advance degrees, that could make a better buck at Google or at your local pharmacy stealing your identity.
Mostly whiners about public servants don’t know what they are talking about. Now that I think about it, maybe it’s time to vacate–
If you have a problem with a public agency, stick to the facts,not libel.
Mary L

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