No excuse for senator’s days away

Published 12:03am Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sen. Melanie Sojourner, the first-term state senator from Adams County, seems to have forgotten an important commitment she made; showing up for work shouldn’t be optional.

Senate records show Sen. Sojourner has missed one out of every 10 roll calls so far in the 2014 Legislature. All other local representatives have perfect attendance.

The sad part about this isn’t the fact that she missed the time in the job she so vehemently sought; it’s her apathetic attitude about her responsibilities.

When asked about her high truancy rate, Sen. Sojourner points to all kinds of excuses, most ridiculously that the office of state senator is a part-time job.

She’s technically correct.

Mississippi’s lawmakers are, in fact, part-time because the Legislature generally only meets once a year and usually just for a few months — barring a special session called occasionally by the governor.

But part-time employees cannot pick and choose the days and hours they work and neither should state senators.

Employers — in this case, citizens for whom Sen. Sojourner should be working — expect part-time workers to show up when work is scheduled.

Sen. Sojourner should realize when she signed up for the job — the job of working for the people in her district — that the schedule is set well in advance and the public expects her to at least show up.

At the very least, she should apologize publicly for falling short of her duties while working a second job — helping another truant state senator, Chris McDaniel — seek a higher office.

Perhaps both of them should refocus on doing the work voters elected them to do before they seek more responsibility that clearly has yet to be earned — at least not through attendance records.