Ric Latarski - Richardson should be held accountable for hiding details of divorce

So, our illustrious Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson manipulates the system to get a quickie divorce that would make the folks in Reno proud.

Richardson apparently managed to get his divorce case in front of Paulding County Superior Court Judge James Osborne - a former law partner - and then have the details of the settlement sealed.

Well, shoot. What's the point of knowing people in high places if you can't use them to your advantage? What's the point in having power if you can't use it to garrote the system?

Normally, a divorce should be a private matter and we shouldn't really care about the details. There are occasions when some rich, famous or powerful person is in the middle of a nasty divorce and we watch it with some twisted interest the same way we can't help but look at a car wreck, but we know it has little real affect on us.

Such is not the case with a public official. Right or wrong, good or ill, fair or unfair, an elected official must be ready to discuss the details of their life and conduct, even when those details are distasteful.

Why? What if an elected official wants a divorce sealed because they do not wish it to be revealed the reason for the divorce is that they were having an affair with a lobbyist who represents a big company that does business with the state, and legislation penned by that official has helped that firm?

This is simply an example and in no way suggesting that this is the case with Richardson.

However, it has generally been the reality that when someone goes out of their way to hide something, there is usually something they know needs to be hidden because of the damage it would do in the eyes of the public.

To make matters worse, Richardson is a lawyer, and, as an officer of the court, he has taken an oath to follow the rules and procedures of the judicial system, which he clearly did not do.

And as a lawyer he should know there are ways in which to keep the details of the divorce under wraps without having to manipulate the system, which may say something about his lawyering skills.

Right now there is no indication that Richardson has done anything illegal in all of this, but his actions do serve to demonstrate the depth of his character, which appears to be about wading pool deep.

When someone has asked the public to place them in a position of power and trust, there comes an obligation - unwritten but in the public mind and sometimes written in the form of ethical guidelines - to conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to that position.

This requirement is not a surprise, and people know the burden that comes with seeking public office.

Sadly, this burden keeps many fine people away from public service because they do not wish to endure this scrutiny. Others accept the challenge and are willing to put themselves in the spotlight and answer any questions asked of them.

And others, like Richardson, want the title and power but do not want to accept the personal responsibility it entails.

In the political arena, Richardson has shown himself to be a power hungry, vindictive bully interested more in his own self-aggrandizement than he is with the welfare of the state.

Perhaps he does a good job representing his district, because he brings home enough pork to give everyone a barbecue sandwich.

Nevertheless, his actions clearly show someone consumed with acquiring power and willing to do anything to keep from endangering that power.

Richardson and Osborne may have some ethical questions to address with those organizations that monitor the behavior of lawyers and judges, and sanctions from those organizations may be a possibility. That is far down the road.

In fact, while it may not be unusual for some two-bit politician to seek special treatment, it may ultimately be more distressing that a Superior Court judge would agree to engage in such shenanigans.

But even without any definitive professional ethical questions, the personal conduct of Richardson cannot be ignored.

Certainly no one is perfect, and we have no reason to expect perfection from our elected officials.

However, we should expect - make that demand - elected officials to not just follow the rules of their office but demonstrate the personal conduct they know must come with that office.

Richardson failed to do this and it was no mistake or an oversight. It was a premeditated effort on his part to conceal information from the public, information that might - might - indicate he has engaged in activities that are a detriment to the state.

For that, he should be held accountable.