Leech City has posted notes from the December Reidsville city council meeting, which we attended. Our regular readers will recall that Reidsville’s newly hired city attorney, B. Jay Swindell, who was the Manassas city attorney when that city’s mayor falsely accused me of criminal behavior during city council meetings, resigned that post a few months ago to take the position of Reidsville’s city attorney. We followed him there to check into Reidsville’s operations, and now we have been informed by the Reidsville city clerk that he has tendered his resignation there already. Rest assured, we will follow his career closely should he take another similar public position.
Keep in mind that, because of attorney-client privilege, it is practically impossible to tell whether a city attorney is on the right side of things or not, absent any glaring documentation of wrong-doing. Sharing the same last name as a city contractor whose proposal was the subject of a clandestine contract modification, while suspicious and worthy of further inquiry, is not in and of itself evidence of malpractice by him or misbehavior by the contractor. On the other hand, the Manassas city government has certainly shown an advanced level of proficiency in autonomous stupidity, so we can give him some benefit of the doubt. It is entirely possible that he told Manassas officials to stop driving off various cliffs, to no avail, until he either got fed up and left or they got tired of hearing him harp on things like laws and rights. Ditto for Reidsville, perhaps.
In any case, his string of resignations from public office constitutes a win. If he is honest, but was unable to prevent them from foolishness, he’s out of the firing line for what our attorney is working on. If he is competent, he is no longer in a position to help save them from themselves. If he was complicit, then any wrongdoing will be that much easier to find.
Despite propaganda to the contrary, in Georgia, city and county attorneys don’t work for the public interest, but instead, for all intents and purposes, work for the interest and cover of the officials themselves, often directly against the public interest. And, our experience has shown that bad officials use this taxpayer-funded resource to plot their schemes rather than seek wisdom and counsel. In this environment, a useful strategy is to strip these officials of the best and brightest, leaving them with only the second string. Whether this second string is merely incompetent, unable to stand up to the rigor of defending abuses, or opportunists waiting for the officials to stumble so that they might then collect their fees, the second string can only be the best option for the public interest. Even better would be a succession of second-stringers, none able to get any traction behind abuses. Far worse would be clever counsel helping bad officials hide their misbehavior.