Improve accountability in Edwardsville

April 20, 2013 

Former Edwardsville Police Chief James S. Bedell's story is sad, but unfortunately all too familiar. He pleaded guilty last week to four counts of theft and embezzlement from the city. A lot of people have gotten caught stealing from their employer to support a gambling habit; it's particularly despicable that a police chief, sworn to uphold the law, would do it.

Also troubling is that Bedell got away with it for years. The federal charges say he stole $138,303 between 2009 and 2012 from impound and towing fees. At $300 a pop, that's 461 separate fees collected but unaccounted for. How does that go unnoticed for so long?

Mayor Gary Niebur said he was "disheartened and outraged" that a person in a position of public trust would do such a thing. But it's equally disheartening and outrageous that checks and balances weren't sufficient to catch the thievery.

Edwardsville clearly needs better accounting practices to ensure there is not a repeat in the future.

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