One of the things that really ticks citizens off is when a local
official uses his position to try to get out of a traffic ticket.
The financial benefit may be minor, but there are two
things that are major. One is that this conduct suggests that
favoritism is common in the government. That is, the expectation and provision of special treatment is an indication of
The second thing that can be major is the benefit when the charge is
not just speeding or going through a light, but driving while drunk,
leaving the scene of an accident, or other sorts of conduct that can
seriously affect an official's personal reputation in the community.
An official's reputation in the community is far more valuable than
the cost of any fine. And yet reputation is not only left out of most ethics
codes, but often ignored by the official, government attorneys, and
even ethics commissions when such conduct is discovered.
Take the latest case, involving an Allen County, IN council member.
According to an
article in the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel
this weekend, an
ethics complaint was filed against the council member, alleging
that, when stopped by a sheriff's department officer, he called the
county sheriff and, after the call, was allowed to leave without
being subjected to a drunken driving test.