Letter To The Editor: Checks And Balances Prevent Corruption

By GREG WHITE
Los Alamos

I can’t help but wonder what the motivation is for people to give up their rights that Americans died for, like happened in the last charter changes. Worse I can understand the motivation for doing away with checks and balances in the system. It’s called corruption. Let’s be clear I’m not making any accusations against any current Councilors or County employees.

No elected treasurer allows for the good ole boys (and girls) to misappropriate funds also called embezzlement. With no one elected by the people to treasurer if the “appointed” treasurer finds evidence of embezzlement he can be silenced or fired. He might decide to go to the Sheriff but with no Sheriff, or one who has been stripped of all funding and duties, that can’t happen.

There is a reason the New Mexico Constitution lists five constitutional elected offices (Sheriff, Treasurer, Clerk, Assessor and Probate Judge ) and sets the terms of  those offices in Article 10, Amendment 2 passed in 1992 (reaffirmed in 1998) long after the Home Rule Amendment and even longer after the Incorporated  County amendment. To be honest I can’t see the harm in not having an elected assessor but we probably should to comply with the constitution.

There’s a reason these same offices are elected offices in every state’s counties and municipalities. To be a check and balance guaranteeing the people ultimate rule of themselves by holding these elected officials responsible.

Ultimate power corrupts ultimately and absolute power corrupts absolutely. No Sheriff would be a  hindrance to justice. The State Police and State Attorney General may lack resources due to budget cuts. BUT the FBI doesn’t worry about budgets and they have several divisions devoted to local government corruption. I’ve seen them in action. Reference this article from the Los Angeles Times: (link) and this one from The Nevada Journal about how corruption follows an overreaching county commission: (link).

So far the argument from the anti Sheriff side boils down to: the Los Alamos Sheriff should not be able to investigate corruption. So we have to ask ourselves what do the current and past council members have to be worried about? The answer with a Sheriff with all the constitutional authority he should have should be welcomed with open arms not silenced because all is on the up and up.

We should also ask if the Sheriff is silenced who’s next? The Council is unhappy the bond didn’t pass … maybe they’ll decide to make the clerk an appointed position so they can control the outcome of elections!

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