Editorials

Arguing over shape of negotiating table

Bradley Lavite is a decorated U.S. Army veteran whose PTSD episode on March 5 has kept him out of his office at the Madison County Administration Building.
Bradley Lavite is a decorated U.S. Army veteran whose PTSD episode on March 5 has kept him out of his office at the Madison County Administration Building. News-Democrat

Brad Lavite spent 20 years in the U.S. Army Reserves, served his nation in Kuwait, Fallujah and Baghdad, earned a Bronze Star as well as Combat Action Badge and other decorations, plus has taught tomorrow’s warriors at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and helped fellow veterans as superintendent of Madison County’s Veterans Assistance Commission.

Everybody thought he was a great guy, and they were right, until March 5.

Lavite got violent, threatened his wife and police, then kicked out a police cruiser window and tried to jump out of the moving car. The episode was attributed to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Madison County leaders acted appropriately and booted him from the county building. SIUE removed him from the classroom.

But 10 months later, after treatment and as he’s being paid to do the job from home, Lavite is still not allowed back in his county office though other vets with PTSD are free to enter the county building. There are some differences in psychological assessments of Lavite, but that is apparently not a major issue to county leaders.

County Chairman Alan Dunstan said he wants Lavite to return, that Lavite does a great job, but that he wants to sit down and talk about the terms of Lavite’s return.

Enter the lawyers, and we’re arguing about what is in writing and what isn’t, if federal lawsuits are needed and whether proper notice to legal counsel was given. You’d think they were trying to get peace negotiations going in Paris.

It seems reasonable to discuss the terms of Lavite’s return, and after viewing the police dash cam video of his episode on March 5, both sides owe it to the public. Talk, put it in writing, stick to the terms and let’s spare the taxpayers more unnecessary legal costs.

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