Once Again, Largo Officials Ignore and Disdain the Rule of Law
by Leo Coughlin
LARGO - Largo's City Commission has opted to continue a tradition in the city of contempt for the rule of law.
Like the U.S. government, which refuses to enforce its own immigration laws (to the great adversity of we the people) and instead sits around dreaming up new ways to break its own laws, Largo officials refuse to enforce the city's laws.
Commission members - with one exception - at their meeting June 5 made that eminently clear. The exception was Commissioner Mary Black, who recognizes the validity of the rule of law and is a stickler for what is right.
In the meantime, the commissioners' erroneous action in "moving on" (leaving a tattered mess in their wake, as usual) earned plaudits from propagandists who advocate the bizarre, aberration and deviancy.
Ignoring the rule of law is not new in a city that has had a history of cronyism, nepotism, self-dealing and conflict of interest involving public officials.
In fact, officials have been quite bold about it - a relative hired by the city, a coffee shop at the library set up for a friend, an elected official promoting an employer for special consideration in the city, etc.
The rule of law is a notion unfamiliar to Largo officials. So the latest turn is no surprise, really. The urging of one commissioner to get away from the "sideshow" only emphasizes the total ignorance of proper procedure and underlines the danger of electing amateurs to office.
Just recently, given an opportunity to enforce a provision of the city Charter where the facts of the case were crystal clear, the half-witted notion of having the sheriff investigate the situation was put forth and not surprisingly adopted.
At least one member of the commission should have said, "The sheriff can't investigate something like this. He does not have jurisdiction."
No member of the commission apparently knew that.
On the other hand, it has been suggested, this was a deliberate attempt to derail any probe, with the sheriff bowing out leading to the "let's forget it" situation.
Of course, no investigation was needed.
The facts were clear. All that had to be done was for the commission to enforce the Charter.
Another opportunity arose more recently with the nonsense of a threat having been made against a commissioner. An official police investigation showed that to be so much hot air.
Again, the Charter was violated.
The Charter recites express "Prohibitions" and explicitly says that if any of these "shalt nots" are violated, the violator will forfeit his or her office.
Commissioner Rodney Woods complained of the threat from a citizen and went directly to the police. The Charter says that no commission member can go directly to a city employee for action; any such procedure must go through the city manager.
A clear violation, without question, of the Charter.
And again, the commission has done nothing and has agreed to do nothing, but to "move on." That's a notion all violators would embrace - move on and forget misdeeds.
Why have the Charter?
Every time something has come up where the Charter comes into play, the basic law of the City of Largo is ignored.
By not following the rule of law, city officials obviously are in breach of the oath they take and cheat the public, the taxpayers of what they pay for.
When Mayor Pat Gerard participated in the bizarre plan of the former city manager to re-introduce himself to the city and its employees supposedly in another gender, she had an obligation, according to the Charter, to report this involvement to the commission.
This is the situation that Sheriff Jim Coats rightfully declined to have anything to do with. Coats must wonder if there is anybody on the Largo commission who knows anything about jurisdiction.
Woods in a compelling, self-dramatizing performance during a commission meeting told how an unnamed individual had threatened him.
When he went directly to the police instead of going through the acting city manager, as the Charter requires, he violated the Charter. The penalty is forfeiture of office.
It's all been swept under the rug now.
And Largo continues its policy of ignoring the rule of law.
Return to Home Page
Return to Current Edition