There was a raging Columbus Council debate over who should be the next building codes enforcement director. The mayor pro tem took the microphone, pointing out that Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and City Manager Isaiah Hugley wanted Greg Coates to take over the important city post that oversees everything from building permits to demolitions.
"Ultimately it is your responsibility to operate this government, along with the mayor, and both of you have recommended Mr. Coates," Pugh said to the city manager.
Can we get an amen from the congregation?
Then Pugh put an exclamation point on her point.
"But if something goes wrong, it's going be y'all's responsibility, and your team that came up with the nomination."
Another amen is in order.
I will not question Coates' qualifications or nomination. Surely, our mayor and city manager would not select a lesser qualified person to fulfill a promise or quota. Under Tomlinson's leadership, quality people have been selected as department heads.
What I want to talk about is Pugh's comment. It bears repeating: "But if something goes wrong, it's going be y'all's responsibility, and your team that came up with the nomination."
There are only two words that are a fitting response.
Sorry, didn't mean to hit below the belt. You remember Mr. Adams, the disgraced former Parks and Recreation director who pleaded guilty to a felony after misappropriation of money involving his AAU elite basketball team?
You could argue former City Manager Carmen Cavezza was the one who hired Adams, but Hugley was on the team, as Pugh puts it.
While Adams was held accountable, those who put him in power, enabled him while he was there and protected him when he was in the early stages of his troubles were not held accountable.
Deputy City Manager Lisa Goodwin, Adams' direct supervisor and his primary protector, bore no accountability for her role in the mess that embarrassed the city two years ago. All she did was look for ways to retaliate against those who tried to let the sunshine into Comer Auditorium.
The city manager's office, which launched a full-scale defense of Adams against the audit and newspaper reporting that brought it to light, bore no accountability for the mess, even as then-Mayor Jim Wetherington tried to hold them accountable.
I want to applaud Pugh for her comments two weeks ago during the Coates' confirmation process. She is right.
The only question is why wasn't somebody on that council publicly saying the same thing two years ago.
Makes you wonder, doesn't it?
Chuck Williams, metro editor, firstname.lastname@example.org