Editorials

Dunstan rescinds invitations to public trough

Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan is telling his 300-plus appointees that it is wrong to enrich themselves from the government units they are expected to oversee.
Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan is telling his 300-plus appointees that it is wrong to enrich themselves from the government units they are expected to oversee. News-Democrat

When Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan said Andy Economy was a good friend, he really must have meant it. Only a really good friend gives you $29,400 as a gift.

Economy and his businesses donated that amount to Citizens for Dunstan over the years. But lest we think any politician can be bought, keep in perspective that Economy’s friendly donations are a drop in the bucket. Citizens for Dunstan is pushing the $1 million mark for lifetime donations.

How much influence can you really buy for $29,400?

It is also interesting that out of the $43,171 Economy has donated over the years to Democrats, he found $200 for the Committee for Less Government.

Which brings around the point: As Dunstan on Wednesday was announcing Economy’s resignation as chairman of the Metro East Sanitary District, he mentioned a new era of ethical conduct.

Economy’s potential crime was failing to disclose on his economic interest statements that his auto body shop did $33,150 in work on sanitary district vehicles. Economy said he saw no ethical conflict there.

Dunstan said he now sees the need to point out to his other 300-plus local government appointees that it is an ethical problem for you to benefit financially from the government unit you’ve been entrusted to oversee.

Dunstan is sending out a letter to those 300-plus appointees. It likely contains some strong words.

In case anyone thinks this is the end of the good-ol-boy, reciprocal back-scratching era, keep in mind that Dunstan & Co. have nearly a million other reasons to like things just the way they are.

If you are wondering why your taxes are so high and Madison County needs a 10 percent cushion in its property tax levy, just remember those 300-plus mouths that need to be fed, not to mention the mouths for which they in turn are expected to provide.

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