Public service and graft / by kevin murray

Public service is supposed to be an altruistic act, a service that you willingly provide to your community on behalf of your constituents and for the benefit of your community as a whole.  This desire to be of public service is also the desire to see that your community is served in a manner that is consistent with American ideals and further that there is proper and appropriate utilization of tax dollars, grants, and other responsibilities so that you are considered to be a good steward of these assetsto your fellow citizens.  As a public servant, the general understanding is that you will not make all that you could make in the private sector in compensation, because you are sacrificing some monetary gains in return for the satisfaction of knowing and having accomplished a greater good for your people.   That is the ideal, some live up to it, and some have no intention of living up to any of it.


Depending upon your position in the pecking order, you as a public servant may have quite a say in how certain monies are allocated, and how certain information is disclosed.  Having access to either or both of these things, gives you power, and from power you will have the capability of seeing that you receive proper service for the things that you can do.  The dilemma is that some use this power to benefit themselves, and some use this power to benefit their constituents.  Of course, there are some that say that they are doing both, but this is disingenuous and a purposeful deceit that people tell themselves in order to justify their actions.


A good way to determine as to whether a particular public servant is self-dealing is to look at their salary and then look at their ways and means of everyday living.  When a public servant somehow improves their monetary worth quite substantially over a period of time when their only means of income is their job, this implies that they have benefited directly from their service, which translates into corruption.  None of this is particularly surprising, when you consider that there are many people on the outside that will gladly pay or compensate you for information that will benefit them.  To those people, it is simply seen as the cost of doing business, while to the recipient the benefit is seen as the tribute that they so richly deserve.


Plenty of public servants have been found with their proverbial hand in the cookie jar, and I don’t doubt that behind the few that are caught and punished, there are a multitude of others that have not been caught or prosecuted.   Those that have influence over how and where monies and other assets are spent and utilized are in high demand from those that have the need for the inside track, by any means necessary.  While there are a multitude of ways to cut down on public graft, one of the most effective, as well as being relatively easy and of virtually of no expense to implement is more and more public transparency on contracts, on employment, and on the decisions and going-on’ of our public servants in their service to their community.  True competition on government bidding and on employment opportunities, publically disclosed is a necessary step in fairness and openness. 


Secrets, underhand deals, corruption, all operate most effectively in the dark; the public deserves to be able to shine a bright light on all aspects of those that profess to serve us.