I agree with The News-Times opinion that state Rep. Ben Harbin is entitled to due process. I also agree that he is a great legislator and he cares about the people of this district. No one is perfect and needs to think long and hard before passing judgment.
The issue that I have a problem with is that the paper seems to be hypocritical when it comes to supporting others where due process is concerned.
The News-Times spends most of its time defending the Columbia County Board of Education (CCBOE), which deprives employees of their due process rights all the time. I don't recall seeing any articles about the cafeteria workers, who were fired because they took unopened food off lunch room trays, instead of throwing the unopened food in the garbage. Or, about the principal who had to hire an attorney to keep from losing his job because of personnel conflicts. I might add that this principal guided Greenbrier Elementary School to excellent status as acknowledged by the state of Georgia.
I don't recall seeing an article about the teachers who received letters of reprimand in their files, because the Board of Education felt like there was some wrong doing during a pre-K lottery. No evidence to support was presented, to show that anything wrong was done, just a feeling. I believe because of this lack of due process, the principal of that school decided to retire early. I don't recall seeing the paper talking about due process when two Columbia County bus drivers were fired for no reason except that they were bringing too much attention to safety issues.
So, my question is: If an elected official takes an oath of office to uphold the Constitution of the United States (i.e. Columbia County Board members) and then violates someone's 14th Amendment right to due process, should that official be held accountable for ethics violations? Is that a story the paper would look into? I doubt it.
Unfortunately for the citizens of Columbia County the paper is not fair or balanced in its coverage of the Columbia County Board of Education or who is entitled to due process.
I have read many articles that agree with me and maybe you should get someone else to write opinions when it comes to the CCBOE.
Editor's note: Commentary regarding the above-referenced topics appeared in The News-Times:
Dec. 6, 2006
July 2, 2006
April 1, April 4, April 8 and April 15 of 2007
May 6 and May 16 of 2007
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