The Portland Oregonian posted an editorial they called the Sad Saga of Ellis McCoy. In it they noted that they thought that McCoy was guilty (he supposedly asked that he be sent to a minimal security prison and hasn’t even gone to trial yet). Well, let’s face it, that, if true, seems clear. They also have copies of checks written to McCoy from the vendor involved. Sigh.
But the piece made a deeper point, one that should have cities across the land doing a bit of introspection. How did the climate in the city government lead to the result. It seems that there had been numerous ‘tells’ that pointed to a problem. Virtually up until copies of checks were shown by the FBI to the Mayor, the problem was ignored. From the Oregonian:
But first things first. As the McCoy case opens up next month in federal court, let it be City Hall’s moment to ask how it allowed things to get so far in the case of one bureaucrat who was flypaper for ethics complaints against him. Let it be City Hall’s moment to snap out of its denial that nothing so unsavory — so fit for low-brow TV, really — could happen in high-minded Portland. The U.S. attorney thinks otherwise. Several complainants do, too. And the people of Portland, left palms to the sky, deserve to know in full what changes city administrators plan to make so that there will never be another Ellis McCoy to wonder about.
I’m not for a moment saying that the people directly involved, if guilty, are not to blame. However organizations do create a climate where these issues are allowed to fester. An example might be when the city of LA found members of its Parking Enforcement Staff were posing in Porno flicks. My guess if strong management had been in place, it never would have happened. The manager in this case decided to take ‘early retirement.’
The Oregonian knows a heck of a lot more about politics in Portland than I, but on the surface it would seem that management needs to take a long hard look in the mirror. Temptation is a terrible thing. It’s not easy to turn down the apple if you don’t keep a fast talking serpent, no matter what it looks like, reigned in.