To say that I am shocked by the statements made by Milledgeville City Council members regarding the recent release of audio-taped conversations would be a true understatement.
I will say up front that I am not a resident of the City of Milledgeville. That does not prohibit me from having and expressing an opinion about this issue. The attitudes expressed by some City Council members do enormous harm to both Milledgeville and Baldwin County as a whole. What business or industry wants to locate in an area where these attitudes prevail in our governments?
The entire issue of moving the City's money in retaliation for a citizen expressing his opinions is deplorable, but I want to focus on a statement made by a City Council member that was published in the Union-Recorder on June 11. What concerns me the most is Councilwoman Denise Shinholster's statement that "...the definition of integrity is doing the right thing when people are watching." She made this statement in disagreement with Councilman Walter Reynolds's statement that "The definition of integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching." That an elected official could believe such a thing, much less say it in public, is beyond reprehensible. It is shocking and absolutely unacceptable.
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines integrity as "Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code." We expect all of our elected officials to perform their duties in strict adherence to the highest moral and ethical standards, whether anyone is watching or not. Does Ms. Shinholster really believe that what our government officials do behind closed doors is none of our business? Does she really believe that they can perform any action, legal or not, as long as no one is watching?
We elect our governmental representatives in the good faith that they will act responsibly and with integrity while serving our best interests. If Ms. Shinholster is unwilling to do that, then she should take it upon herself to set a good example and step down immediately. Certainly, I encourage the residents of District 3 to begin the process of recalling her immediately. This attitude cannot be allowed to exist within our governments at any level.