COMMENTARY: I’ve written a lot in the past about public employees inappropriately using government resources for campaigning and other private business. On Monday, I came across a example of someone doing it right that I wanted to share.
The example starts with me making a mistake. I wanted to ask Las Cruces’ interim city manager, David Dollahon, if he was still interested in being considered for that job on a more permanent basis.
I called Dollahon’s government office and left a message. I also sent an email asking the question — to his government email account.
His emailed response from the government account was right on:
I will not respond to these type of questions on the City’s e-mail, as it represents use of City equipment on something that provides me with a personal benefit. You are welcome to contact me via my email listed on my resume/cover letter that was submitted to the Mercer Group.
First, let me share publicly the apology I emailed back to Dollahon: I should have sent my request for comment to his private email account, not his city address. I apologize to him for putting him in that position, and to the city’s residents for opening the door to a possible inappropriate use of public email by a government official. I know better.
Second, I want to thank Dollahon for responding to my email with such integrity. Government is a sacred trust. Even using an email account to send one message that arguably has very little financial cost is a violation, and it opens the door to more. Using public money for personal or political benefit is a slippery slope.
We need more folks in government who take that sacred trust so seriously. I’m glad to know Dollahon is doing just that.
And by the way: No, this isn’t an endorsement of Dollahon for city manager. That decision is the Las Cruces City Council’s. I don’t know Dollahon or the candidates the Council interviewed last week. I’m just taking the opportunity to hold up an example of someone in government acting ethically.
This BBSNews article originally appeared on NMPolitics.net.