Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ruffin's retirement announcement raises issues with honesty

Durham County Manager Mike Ruffin made it official at the end of last night’s County Commissioners meeting.  He’s retiring effective Jan. 31.

The Rev-elution reported in April that Ruffin planned to retire at the end of July.  Ruffin refuted it in an interview with Ray Gronberg of the Herald-Sun.  Members of the Board of County Commissioners denied conversations with Ruffin regarding a pending announcement of Ruffin’s intent to retire.

What changed since the April report of Ruffin’s intent to retire?  Should Durham residents assume that Ruffin experienced a deep moment of reflection that led to a change of heart, or should we call him to task for lying about his plans to retire?

Does it matter?  Should we offer leniency for those who vehemently deny plans to walk away?  Is it none of our business?

Should we hold members of the Board of County Commissioners accountable for denying what they knew to be true, while continuing to suggest they had no conversations with Ruffin regarding retirement?  Should we give them all a pass for not telling the truth because it’s a personal matter?

This is a sensitive issue.  Members of the Board of County Commissioners aren’t allowed to discuss what takes place in private session.  Not sharing the details of those meetings is one thing.  Lying about having those discussions gets at the character of those who denied any knowledge of Ruffin’s plans.  To say they knew it was coming, but not knowing when is not true.

They knew and they deceived the public.

Tell me it’s a matter you can’t address. Avoid the question.  I respect the right not to answer, but lying is off the table.

Take note at how members of the board will respond over the next few weeks.  They will pretend to be surprised.  They will tell us they knew Ruffin planned to retire, but didn’t know when.  You have the right to believe them. I’m telling you it’s not true.

If you believe them, have you minimized your expectation for honesty among those you elect to serve? You can say it’s no big deal.  You may be right.  That is if you have no issues with lies.  If they will lie about plans of Ruffin’s retirement, what else has been denied?

Ruffin and commissioners will tell you it’s all a coincidence.  It’s not.

That’s the truth. The rest is up to you.

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