We like integrity. We think integrity is important. We believe that integrity should be a crucial factor when public officials are doing the work of the people. And yet, in their own unique way, Clark County commissioners last week managed to turn the notion of integrity into a clownish escapade that wasted valuable time and resources.
Actually, before we go any further, allow us to amend that previous statement. In their own unique way, Commissioners David Madore and Tom Mielke managed to turn several commission meetings into a sort of governmental circus. To lump fellow Commissioner Steve Stuart with Madore and Mielke would be unfair to Stuart; he argued against and voted against the resolution.
But Madore and Mielke went ahead and passed a 13-page resolution that began life as an "integrity resolution" designed to proclaim that the C-Tran board broke faith with the community when it approved a potential light-rail funding plan in September. Containing 31 "whereas" statements, 97 references linking mostly to government websites, and links to four videos starring Madore and produced by his media company, the document was the subject of several commission meetings and more than a month of acrimony.
Along the way, Madore took it upon himself to include a definition of "integrity." This was a curious inclusion, considering that the Clark County Human Resources Policy Manual already contains such a definition. That's where things get messy for the commissioners, because the county's definition specifies: "As an example, a person with integrity follows a job application rating system, even when it screens out a friend." Given the manner in which Madore and Mielke hired state Sen. Don Benton as the county's director of environmental services earlier this year, it's no wonder they wished to redefine "integrity" so it was more to their liking.
Yet we needn't rehash the Benton hiring in order to find fault with the commissioners' proclamation of integrity. There are plenty of other reasons:
• The resolution is nonbinding, which means that much staff time and money was spent producing a whole lot of hot air.
• While the county commissioners are members of the C-Tran board, this essentially was one governmental agency picking a sandbox fight with another agency over which it has no control. Madore and Mielke had their say on the C-Tran board; they lost the vote regarding light-rail funding.
• Commissioners spent three meetings debating the resolution, which suggests they have far too much time on their hands. It would seem there are more productive ways for commissioners to spend their weekly meetings.
• Five residents gave testimony regarding the resolution, all in opposition. Madore often has championed the importance of adhering to the will of the people, but that apparently applies only when it suits his purposes.
In the end, the debate over the "integrity resolution" obfuscates valid questions about the C-Tran board's passage of a light-rail funding plan. By bringing the issue into a realm that has no input on the matter, Madore has invited ridicule rather than discussion. The resolution comes across as nothing more than a hypocritical exercise in megalomania.
As mentioned, we think integrity is important. But we really aren't that interested in county commissioners wasting a lot of time passing a 13-page resolution that does little more than chastise another government agency. They can define "integrity" as often as they like, but we'll be more impressed when Madore and Mielke act with integrity rather than talk about it.