Might as well investigate the whole town — that seems where this deplorable situation is headed.
Guess it's no surprise that this dysfunctional collection of elected leaders has decided to not only investigate itself, but to probe a wide swath of people that could include — if we get the not-so-veiled hints — the city's Police Department and the city's staff, among others.
Of course, no one knows who's being investigated, or who's going to be called in as witnesses, or what the ramifications are. We're all in the dark. That neither City Manager Don Hoyt nor Mayor Gene Robinson are aware of the investigation's scope tells you all you need to know about how this is being mishandled.
Ben Little, one of the councilmen who welcomes this Kangaroo Court, put it this way in a comment to The Star. "This is some serious stuff that has happened in the city, and we intend to bring it out," he said.
Add this situation — a warring council investigating itself — as yet another example of the slipshod elected leadership the city has received for nearly two years.
The sad reality is that the behavior of some of these men is the root cause of many, though not all, of the council's ailments. The secret's been out of the bag for months: Among the trio of Robinson, Little and Councilman John Spain is a litany of examples of rude encounters, ugly arguments, lawsuits, bad decorum and threats of various sorts.
They don't get along. Their exchanges are often filled with tussles and name-calling that go beyond the normal political fare. They seem incapable of leading with the good manners the city deserves.
It's ridiculous to the point of absurdity.
At a council meeting earlier this summer, Councilman Herbert Palmore — who voted for the inquiry — went so far as to self-exonerate himself from any involvement in the shenanigans.
"I'm not a part of the junk y'all got going," Palmore told the mayor and other councilmen. "I don't badger people. I don't be stupid and talking on the radio. I don't write any damaging e-mails and insulting people's names. I don't do that."
Nevertheless, forget how this behavior and this inquiry make these men look. These actions stain the city's reputation.
That's what matters.
We have little confidence that this inquiry will be a productive, worthwhile endeavor. It is likely to only bring pain. Most troubling is this seeming desire to draft an unknown number of people — from city staffers to policemen to judges — into this inquiry. By announcing no agenda or schedule, this council has unfairly put those who work for the city on edge as they have no choice but to wait and see if they're investigated or subpoenaed.
There's no doubt that this council's behavior and actions are a cancer on the city's character. Now we're seeing that cancer's damage: Combative elected leaders pummeling each other, and perhaps others, with the power of an official inquiry.