Fighting Public Servants
It was clear to everyone in the city of Arlington that there was no love between Mayor H.G. Nelson and Councilmember Howard McNair. Both had served on the council for more than a decade, and what began as a friendly rivalry had escalated to a pattern of name-calling and shouting during the televised council meetings. After much effort on the part of a mediator, the two reached a tenuous peace pact, each agreeing to remain civil during the meetings and to comment only on the facts of an issue and not on personalities.
The peace lasted only a few weeks. In a letter to the editor of the local newspaper entitled “An open letter to the community,” McNair charged the mayor with gross negligence in approving an extension of hours at a local card room. “It’s clear that this bozo we call the mayor is in the pocket of the gambling interests. He is a disgrace to the hard-working, God-fearing people of our city. Beware the devil!”
The council and residents quickly weighed in through letters to the paper and calls to the local radio talk shows. Some felt McNair had a right to express his opinion, and because he had done it in the paper and not at the council meeting, there was no breach of the agreement. “This is a free country, thank God,” wrote one resident. “We all have a right to speak our minds.” Others argued that personal attacks, no matter the venue, were counter-productive and an embarrassment. “How can we tell our kids to behave on the playground when our council can’t behave themselves?” asked one citizen.
Immediately after the article was published Mayor Nelson received two letters in the mail about McNair. One was a citizen (Mary) stating that McNair was having an affair with the City Manager’s wife, and Mary had just leaked the information to the press. Nelson knew that if that information was public, the city would not be able to host the Marriage and Family convention which would bring millions to the city. He could call the paper and request that the paper hold off on printing the article until after the award was presented, which was in two days.
Next, Nelson received a letter from the township of Clarksburg, requesting a letter of recommendation for McNair because they were about hire him as their Mayor elect. McNair was from Clarksburg and would be a good selection for the township. Despite Nelson’s feuds with McNair, he knew that McNair was a good public servant.
Nelson took the following actions. He called the paper and requested that they hold off on printing the article, and he did not provide a letter of recommendation for McNair.
Please analyze the actions of Nelson, Mary and McNair using the chart which is attached. Make sure to complete an analysis for two individuals. If you complete it for all three, you will receive up to 10 extra credit points. Make sure that you have considered everything to get the full points.