Candid Camera
September 23, 2009

Memo

To: Beverly Gallagher, Suspended Broward School Board Member/Accused Criminal

Cc: Other Arrested Public Officials

South Florida watched you run from news reporters today after your arrest for extortion, wire fraud and bribery.  You covered your well-known face while someone held up papers in front of the camera lenses.  That was a slap in the face to your constituents (and, ironically, a surefire way to attract even more attention in a newscast).

So In the spirit of public service, we offer some reminders of the fundamentals, certain basic truths that may have been lost in the gravitational pull of power and authority of elected office. 

Your arrest and the charges against you are big news.  Valid, relevant, important news.  Because you have offered yourself up to represent citizens and oversee their money and their interests, everything you do and every decision you make on their behalf and with their money is subject to public scrutiny.  And the business of news is public scrutiny.  That’s why we showed up.

You are presumed innocent until proven guilty, and you may well be innocent.  But your arrest raises questions among your constituents and they deserve answers.  An answer may be as simple as, “I cannot comment at this point” or “I look forward to my day in court”.   The point is, your constituents deserve your respect and your attention.

Running from news cameras is akin to running from the public you promised to serve. 

Many of them are children.  You know, the kids who go to class in Broward schools every day where teachers try to instill responsibility, courage and honesty.  Imagine what they think, seeing one of the school board members scurrying away from all three.

This is a tough time for you, no doubt.  It’s also pretty tough for the constituents who feel betrayed by you.  So please regain your sense of responsibility to those who elected you, and – bonus – regain your dignity.

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