As my schedule allows I like to attend meetings of the Johnson County Commissioners Court just to keep up with issues in the county and to stay current with the types of things the commissioners deal with. When choosing to attend yesterday's meeting I got way more than I bargained for.
Before starting in on the day's agenda County Judge Harmon announced Precinct 2 Commissioner John Matthews had a statement to make. A tearfully emotional Matthews announced his resignation from the position he's held for 8 1/2 years.
Plenty has been written recently about the ongoing investigation into suspected improper purchases supposedly made by Matthews. I'm not going to get into the merits of the case or any speculation regarding guilt or innocence. That's the job of the justice system. When I left the court house I just prayed for John. I prayed that if he's done what he's accused of then whatever is going on in his life that might have led him to that action will be healed.
The one thing I want to focus on today is a statement made by Matthews that has bothered me for the last week or so since I read it in the Joshua Star. Matthews was quoted as saying "Is it really good use of taxpayer money to spend three days with three people to audit paper towels and paper cups?" I say "Yes!" That's exactly the kind of thing taxpayer funds should be used for - to root out impropriety if it exists. I read a similar statement by a Star-Telegram reader. They think the investigation should turn towards the Sheriff and Texas Rangers for investigating something so minor. Are you kidding me? Monetary value should have no bearing here. That's not the point at all. Integrity is. Trust is. If the suspected $1400 is not worth investigating then what is? $2000? $10,000? Do we need to create a law that allows a certain dollar amount of theft allowable by an elected official before an investigation takes place? That's insane. I think Mr. Matthews statement says an awful lot about his state of mind and maybe even his character. It was disappointing to read to say the least.
The recurring sentiment I'm hearing now is that all politicians are the same...crooks. It feels like that sometimes, doesn't it? It makes it tough for those of us in public office really trying to do our best and model the higher level of integrity that I believe we should be held to. Bad apples that don't think they should be scrutinized make us all look bad and I'm tired if it. We need to find them all and replace them.