With the guilty plea of Scranton's former Mayor on three felony charges (reference HERE), there continues to be quite a bit written about "rights", as in "city residents have a right to ___________". As I read all of this stuff, some coming from the horde of anonymous commentators (having the online equivalent of beer muscles), I do think there are some clear lines in the sand.
- Scranton residents have a right to an explanation from the former Mayor. His attorney publicly proclaimed his innocense multiple time in the media. This means that, in addition to explaining his felonious actions, he also needs to explain why his attorney lied on his behalf about his (lack of) innocence.
- Scranton residents have a right to know who else in city hall is implicated. If media reports are true, there may be city employees on the payroll as I write this who participated in the former Mayor's illegal activities. Authorities need to identify all of the players by name. These individuals need to be fired.
- Scranton residents have a right to know exactly who "paid to play". Bribery works because there are two willing partners. If a city vendor paid the former Mayor in order to continue to do business in Scranton, barring their proactive participation in the investigation, those vendors need to have their contracts nullified.
- Municipal employees have a right to a presumption of innocence. This is precisely why "names need to be named". Not every municipal employee participated in the former Mayor's fraud; in fact, the vast majority did not. How do I know this? Well, call it a combination of age and common sense: Illegal activities need some degree of secrecy to function, which means a limited scope of participants. Innocent city employees should be freed from guilt by association.