Tuesday, July 07, 2009

It Takes One to Know One

Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale has refused to sign a resolution censuring Knox County Law Director Bill Lockett:

Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale has refused to sign a resolution passed by Knox County Commission censuring county Law Director Bill Lockett, asking for his resignation and asking that all investigations into Lockett's misappropriation of funds be expedited.

It was prompted by Lockett's admission on May 26 that he pocketed clients' payments intended for his former law firm of Kennerly, Montgomery & Finley before taking office last August.

Chief Deputy Law Director Joe Jarret wrote to commissioners Monday, informing them that "Mayor Ragsdale has declined to affix his signature" to the resolution.

Jarret also wrote a memo to County Clerk Foster Arnett Jr. noting that Ragsdale refused to sign the resolution and that if the mayor fails to sign a resolution, it becomes law within 10 days after being submitted to the mayor. Resolutions are routinely filed in the county clerk's office.

"It's his prerogative," County Commissioner Mike Hammond said. "He has taken a position that he was not going to be critical of Mr. Lockett. He should let us know why he isn't signing it. I would like to know why he isn't signing it."

Mr. Lockett certainly deserves a fair hearing, but Mike Ragsdale's refusal to sign the Knox County Commission's resolution raises all kinds of questions, largely because it has long been established that Mike Ragsdale is himself a crook. It may be a bit of guilt by association, but would it not be reasonable to say that birds of a feather flock together, and that it certainly appears that Ragsdale is condoning wrongdoing?

As it is, Mike Ragsdale has little room defending Lockett in any fashion in light of the allegations against him, considering that Ragsdale's own problems will mean that when he leaves office as Knox County Mayor next year, his political career is over.

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