City needs to consult ethics commission

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 23, 2017

Natchez city leaders must realize that two potential wrongs do not make a right.

Earlier this week, questions surrounding the hiring of Natchez Police Chief Daniel White’s son as an officer in the police department came to light.

Natchez Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis — the longest tenured member of the board of aldermen — seemed to suggest that the city had somehow set a precedent that such a hire might be OK by a similar situation in the past.

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Unfortunately, simply saying, “We’ve done it before so that makes it OK,” doesn’t cut it.

The city must quickly pursue getting an opinion on the issue from the Mississippi Ethics Commission.

The city must clear up the matter — according to state law not local practice — to eliminate any question of impropriety.

Of all segments of city government, the law enforcement arm should be held to the highest standard of adherence to the law and to common sense ethics.

We know the board of aldermen would have approved the hiring of White’s son. Whether or not they did so with knowledge of how the man was connected to White is unclear.

In White’s case, he should have gone out of his way to point out the relationship prior to asking aldermen to approve his son’s hiring.

If the state ethics commission rules that White son can be legally hired, great. If not, then one of them must resign.