We read about Senator Mike Bennett's financial dealings with state agencies that fall under his purview as he either heads up or sits on committees that make critical decisions for these agencies.
In Sundays editorial "Bending it like Bennett - Senator and other legislators stretch ethics laws to the limit" the editors conclude:
Bluntly put, if elected officials can't make a living without doing business with the agencies they help oversee, they really ought to get out of politics and focus on making a living full time.
Good advice indeed.
Other local public officials have received scrutiny in the same series of articles.
Sarasota's Commissioner Mary Anne Servian downtown condo deal was the subject of an article and a letter to the editor.
Ideally we would like all our public servants to serve the public's interest. We understand that while this may be somewhat idealistic, it is nice to know that questionable activity will likely get scrutinized by local media.
Our expectation is that the public interest is foremost in the minds of those we elect. The appearance of personal gain should be scrutinized, discussed and clarified. Lingering doubt feeds cynicism and clouds citizen participation. The best communities have strong public servants and highly participative citizens.