Monday, April 30, 2012

a Serious Lapse in Judgment

     So, last Sunday I found out that the City Council in my town hired the summer Pool Supervisor at their last regular meeting.  No big deal, right?! Okay, but what if the person hired was only 18 and a terrible lifeguard? Still not a big deal?! What if I told you that the person hired currently has (and at the time he was hired had) D felony charges pending for possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver? Got your attention, didn't I?! Needless to say, I went to the next city council meeting and asked for the issue to be put on the agenda for the next meeting, 'cause as a mom, I've got some opinions about that decision.  Floating around the decision are rumors that the person's mother, who is the city clerk, intentionally misled other applicants into believing the position was filled so her child was the only actual applicant and his father, who works for the local newspaper, quashed the story even though it was presented to him by the sheriff's office as a public notice.  Needless to say, this has created some turmoil in this small, otherwise seemingly peaceful town.  
    Several people in the community who are interested in the situation but have some ties to the city and feel conflicted out of expressing their concerns have addressed me since finding out I was at the meeting - thanking me for being there, etc.  When I first heard about the whole thing, I was incredulous; then I was angry - not ever at the kid who took the job (although I question his sanity in even applying) - but at the city council members who did not see this as a legitimate concern.  I am a criminal defense attorney.  I've seen young people's lives be ruined by one stupid action - not mistake, but intentional action - taken for whatever reason.  I've seen the damaging effects a Felony Conviction can have one someone - essentially prohibiting any kind of legitimate employment, affecting ability to obtain school loans, etc.  A felony Conviction is a one-way ticket to nowhere; and for a young kid, it can be devastating.  I do not want that for this kid.  I know what it means to be innocent until proven guilty; but I also know what it means when law enforcement find 3 ounces of marijuana and a scales in someone's possession.  My motto: take responsibility for what you did and pay the consequences.  Unfortunately, it doesn't look like this kid is doing that. Instead, he's advocating for the legalization of marijuana - arguing that legalizing MJ will prevent young people from growing and selling to make a quick buck, and instead go to college. (Did I mention that this kid is enrolled at the U of I?). Hypocritical, to say the least, but politics aside, it doesn't show much responsibility-taking and it doesn't convince me that he won't sell drugs to the other kids at the pool...
     Anyway, like I said, I have nothing against this kid - give him a job mowing lawns, hire him by all means, but don't put him in charge of a bunch of teenagers who are supposed to be watching our children!  This is the City's bad judgment - plain and simple.  I do not want this event to define this kid for the rest of his life.  In fact, I spoke with the mayor and begged him to talk to the kid's mother and try to convince her that persisting in taking the job would only result in MORE bad publicity and reputation destruction, not less.
     Unfortunately, someone notified the Des Moines news media.  While I was in court in Audubon County, KCCI was roaming the town trying to get interviews from the poor parents and the mayor.  Exactly what I feared would happen, did.  Now, the focus will not be on the idiot city council who gave the kid the job, knowing about the pending charges, but the kid himself.  Any attempt to minimize the damage to his reputation is gone....he will be the headline - not the council and their bad decision.  I am very sad about the situation. Yes, the kid is stupid, arrogant and has very poor judgment, but he's just a KID! (18) All 18 year-olds are stupid, arrogant and have bad's part of their DNA.  I blame the adults, here. The city council members who had to have known what the right decision was - the decision that was best for the community - but either bowed down to pressure or simply ignored the facts.
     I was not the only parent concerned about this situation. As I said earlier, many parents have approached me...but I think I might have been the only parent who really cared about the effects of this mess on that fool boy who applied for the job....


1 comment:

  1. I use to be a life guard and swim instructor, and my supervisors and managers were always people who were the most useless and irresponsible co-workers. It made me so mad, and their approach to life made it difficult for the rest of us to do our job properly. I was always a bit resentful they were making so much more than me and I was so much more intent on keeping the children under my watch safe. As someone on the other side, I am with you on this 100%.