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Investigation of staff shows their innocence

The Fairmont City Council on Monday received a report from investigator Michelle Soldo of Soldo Consulting. Her finding is that city staff targeted by her probe did not know about some criminal cases in the former City Attorney’s Office that ran past their statute of limitations.

Of course that was her finding.

A prosecutor, whether the former City Attorney, the Martin County Attorney or someone else does not share the inner workings of their office as they weigh criminal prosecutions. The data is private. As every citizen would want, especially if they are facing prosecution. The data becomes public only if charges are filed.

As the city is structured, the City Council is the direct supervisor of two city staff positions — the city administrator and the City Attorney. City staff members would have no reason to know what is happening in the City Attorney’s Office. Just as they do not know what is happening in the County Attorney’s Office, which now oversees criminal prosecutions for Fairmont.

On Sept. 23, when the City Council voted 3-2 to investigate city staff, Councilman Tom Hawkins led the charge. He found it “unreasonable” that city staff did not know about the expired cases. He said he did not believe those city staff members who publicly denied any such knowledge.

Perhaps since he publicly questioned the integrity of city staff members, Councilman Hawkins could now issue a public apology to them.

In the meanwhile, we await the arrival of the bill for Soldo’s investigation. It can be added to the pile of other unnecessary costs incurred by the council this year.

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