EDITORIAL: Public trust

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City residents gathered in Houston, Okolona, Woodland and Houlka last week to watch city officials raise their right hand and officially become Mayor, Aldermen and City Marshal.

While the comments leading up to the ceremony and the reception afterward were light-hearted events, the locale and those in them were silent and solemn as each city official in Houlka, Woodland, Okolona and Houston vowed to uphold truth, justice and the laws of the State of Mississippi.

City board meetings are traditionally places of protocol and we were pleased with each one of these events last week.

There were political jokes and city hall stories on the front end. The reception was typical Southern culture with smiles, handshakes, hugs and cake.

But again, it was the oath that each elected official took in front of family and friends that all came to see.

In this day and age of illegal shenanigans and outright fraud and theft in city government across this state and nation, we hope our city officials realize what they said to us when they took their oath of office.

It is easy to point to Washington or even Jackson and turn a blind eye to graft and corruption when it becomes a headline. It is a little different when a city official in Houston, Houlka, Okolona or Woodland is charged with a crime.

Our city officials are people we go to church with, see at the grocery store and do business with on a regular basis. They are more than politicians, they are our neighbors.

We urge our elected officials to think twice before they even come close to doing something inappropriate and embarrassing themselves, their office and us.

We have put our trust in you to guide and guard our city over the next four years. You will have access to thousands of dollars of our tax money and we expect you to spend it wisely and appropriately.

The office you hold is a public trust and it can be taken from you as quickly as you assumed it last week.

Congratulations to each and every elected official in Houston, Okolona, Houlka and Woodland. We know you will do your community, your family and your office proud – you’ve given us your word on it.