Not in their purview

Ethics commission should have taken the day off

Chuck Gardner

Las Vegas Review-Journal
May 5, 1997

    The Nevada Ethics Commission has decided to censure an elected official, Constable Bob Nolen, for unethical conduct for not spending enough time at the office, or in the words of the commission, for using "his position to allow himself to not have to earn his salary."

    It's a new era in America, and not for linguistic contortion, which has always attended the political kind.

    We don't need elections anymore. A commission will decide whether our leaders are doing their jobs.

    We should expect, before this is over, heads to roll. Judges who race through their morning calendars to make their tee time on the golf course, district attorneys playing games on their office computers, public defenders who go home at 3:00 p.m., and county commissioners who have no clue as to what's in the files on their agenda because they don't read them, should all be on the commission's chopping block.

    Some of these people do twice the job in half the time, some of them half the job in twice the time, and some would do us a favor if they went home at noon and never came back.

    But we voted for them.

    Two members of the commission declined to join their four brethren in their condemnation of Constable Nolen. One of them, Scott Scherer, a lawyer, correctly advised that, in America, the amount of time a politician spends on the job is for the voters, not a committee, to decide.

    Nevertheless, the foursome "used their positions to allow themselves to not have to" respect the limits of their authority.

    They should have taken the day off.