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Outside editorial: Man up!

Posted: July 30, 2012 - 1:00am

This editorial first appeared in the Ketchikan Daily News:

Ketchikan City Council members and the mayor now have iPads to use on city business. The city has a policy under which employees using city computers have their use audited from time to time.

Now there’s a policy making that the case for elected officials using taxpayer-provided equipment, too.

Truly a no-brainer.

Yet, Some Council members had their feelings hurt over the proposal; they felt it was as if we didn’t trust them or something.

Aw.

Citizens have learned the hard way what reporters knew long before the Chicago City News Bureau’s slogan — “If your mother says she loves you, check it out” — became widely known in the 1970s. We can trust all we want, but sometimes those in whom we place our trust don’t deserve it.

That’s not to say these Council members don’t. But it is to say that the city and the taxpayers, if they provide computers, do indeed have the right to know what’s on them — and to be sure of what’s not on them. They have a responsibility to keep the city’s reputation golden.

There is a reason what Council members do is called “public service,” and not just “service.” What they do is public, and should be. Those who don’t want their activities as Council people known might consider another form of service. This particular city, at this particular time, should be especially cognizant of the possibility that we really don’t know folks the way we think we do.

But that’s neither here nor there, and we really don’t expect to find any banned materials on the iPads we gave Council members (at least, we better not). The timing of the then-Council Member Jack Shay child pornography debacle aside, it’s silly to act as if it’s offensive to want to know what a public official is doing on the job.

This little opera reminds us of the story of the husband who gets his feelings hurt when his wife says something thoughtless while she is in labor and about to give birth to his child. Really?

Man up, Council members, and grow some thicker skin. You work for the people. You’re using their stuff. Take offense on your own time, with your own stuff.

(And ... thanks for your service.)

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