"Bateman, the former accounting services representative who embezzled cash payments to the municipal court for a decade, has pleaded guilty to one count of theft of $25,000 or more. In reality, the damage Bateman did to the city's budget was minimal. The city never knew the money was missing, and $1 million, while significant in some ways, is a miniscule percentage of the entire city's budget."
Dear, accountable, responsible, respectable anonymous editorial writer, this is the mentality which the taxpayers disapprove.
$1 million may seem like a small amount of money to a Springfield News-Leader Editorial Page Editor, his assistant and collegues at the News-Leader. $1 million dollars may seem like a small amount of money to a big wheeler dealer real estate developer who happens to sit on Springfield's City Council and who regularly assists in the process of tweaking building codes, but in view of the Police and Firefighters' pension fund shortfall and the recent restructuring proposal offered by Police Chief Lynn Rowe to cut a division, do away with a Major and a Captain position at the police department to allow two new Lieutenant positions (meaning two more officers working the streets of Springfield) and a savings of $2500 in their personnel budget, I'd have to wonder if the Police and Firefighters would think it was a "minimal" amount in regards to the budget?
This year Cindy Rushefsky brought an amendment to the City of Springfield's budget for 2007-2008 to provide that HALF that amount, all that could be afforded, go into the Police, Fire Pension Fund. To think, and the estimates I have heard are $1.3 - $1.6 million that was stolen from municipal court funds, that amount of money could have gone into the pension plan or the police department's budget could have been increased that amount. Ah, but it's a "miniscule" amount.
Ask the police department and the fire department if they'd have rather had a half a million added to their pension plan or upwards of $2 million added to their pension plan and see if they agree with your definition of "miniscule." Ask Police Chief Lynn Rowe what he could have done with an additional $1.3 - $1.6 million in the police department's budget.
When our finances are lacking in our households we watch every penny. The government of the City of Springfield is responsibile for watching every penny of the taxpayers' money. Springfield is their "house."
Why try to minimize the amount of money stolen in perpetration of the crime and then out of the other side of your mouth seek to throw the book at Bateman?