Monday, December 19, 2011

Don't limit probe into Cogdell hiring

Tuesday's Observer editorial:

When Democrat Harold Cogdell first considered, then reconsidered, ousting Jennifer Roberts as chair of the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners a year ago, we worried about the implications of his move.

Cogdell’s maneuvering, the Observer editorial board said then, “raises fears of two years of dysfunction, with politics and personal ambition a strong undercurrent.”

Fast forward to tonight. Politics and personal ambition helped Cogdell finish the job on Roberts this time. His rise prompted a jilted fellow Democrat to raise questions about his ethics. Those questions are important and demand answers. But if commissioners don’t handle things well tonight, the public’s distrust of Cogdell could deservedly creep over to the whole board.

Cogdell contracted with C.W. Williams Community Health Center for legal work last summer just two months after successfully arguing for a 39 percent boost in county money for the nonprofit. That had, at a minimum, the appearance of a possible impropriety. An independent investigation into Cogdell’s hiring is needed, and Cogdell tonight will ask commissioners to authorize exactly that.

Cogdell, though, also wants the probe to determine what other commissioners knew and when they knew it. If fellow Democrats were aware of Cogdell’s arrangement for months and raised concerns about it only when he broke up with them, that too would be unethical. (And if they didn’t know about it previously, who leaked it to them days before the chairmanship vote?)

Dumont Clarke, a Democratic commissioner, said Monday his “jaw dropped” when he saw Cogdell’s proposed investigation. Clarke said the most important question is whether Cogdell did anything improper and that Cogdell is trying to “muddy the waters” by also delving into what other commissioners knew. That’s a secondary question that can be answered later, Clarke said.

Clarke told the editorial board Monday that he first heard of Cogdell’s ties to C.W. Williams from commissioner George Dunlap the Friday before the Tuesday vote for chairman. Dunlap told us he first learned of it around that time when a source, whom he won’t name, told him about it.

Dunlap added that even if he suspected Cogdell had done something unethical, it would be OK for Dunlap not to report that because there is, apparently, no explicit board policy that would require him to. That is a puzzling take on ethics indeed.

Cogdell may very well be trying to push some of the spotlight off of him and on to other commissioners. But the public deserves a complete report on all aspects of this episode. Any effort by Clarke and fellow Democrats tonight to delay a full investigation will leave doubts in citizens’ minds about what’s not coming out. Better to have the probe cover all facets, draw its conclusions and put the matter to bed.

Courageous Cooksey

Republican commissioner Neil Cooksey, who is serving his second term, announced Monday that he won’t seek reelection next year. We haven’t always agreed with Cooksey on policy, but he has been a solid contributor to the board who asks good, tough questions. The courage he has demonstrated in his fight against pancreatic cancer has been inspiring, and we wish him the best.


Redlight said...

Investigation definitely required.
Prayers for Mr. Cooksey.

Wiley Coyote said...

That’s a secondary question that can be answered later, Clarke said.

Clarke, a typical tax and spend, hypocritcal liberal sheeple.

No, it isn't Dumont.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander and if your fellow loudmouth "Dunlap The Abuser" knew something prior to, then we need to know it NOW as well.

Will Rickard said...

Funny that now, all of the sudden, the Observer is worried about politics, dysfunction and personal ambition. As if Parks Helms or Roberts only acted out of pure altruism and non-partisan goodwill when they ran things. Why wasnt the Observer doggedly searching for the truth back in the summer? If any organization can speak about politics, dysfunction and personal a,bitio it is the Observer editorial board.

ThaQueenCity said...

This is just TOO funny!

But the public deserves a complete report on all aspects of this episode.

Why because YOU and the CO said so? Please believe me when I say THIS paper and YOU Taylor Batten DO NOT speak for me or anyone I know!

Like ti or not I am part of the "public" and I could care less at this point. YOU and THE CO have complacent MANY times when corruption was in our faces! And NOW only because you are mad at Harold for doing what he did do YOU want an investigation!

I hope Harold shows you ALL up...

ThaQueenCity said...

Neil Cooksey: Thank you for your outstanding work accomplished over the years. God bless you and keep you blessed my friend....

Veronica said...

The Observer is on a witch hunt.

Ghoul said...

Of course its a witch hunt, the Observer is punishing Harold for leaving the plantation.

DistrictSix said...

Wag the dog.

WashuOtaku said...

Witch hunt, witch hunt, yay!

sanitizer said...

Why should tax payers have to pay for an investigation. Just the fact he voted concerning CW Williams should have recluse him from accepting the position. HE should resign immediately.