By Scott Tibbs, April 21, 2014
The scandal surrounding the Bloomington city employee who allegedly conspired to defraud city government out of $800,000 has brought forth some really weak defenses for the actions of Mayor Kruzan's administration, as well as attempts to dodge legitimate criticism entirely.
Kruzan's defenders whined that I was "politicizing" the scandal in my letter to the editor last week. This is a typical tactic used when a politician is revealed to be incompetent or has committed some sort of malfeasance. Instead of addressing the arguments made, Kruzan's defenders whine, "Oh the criticism is political." But that does not address why the employee was able to get away with the fraud for over two years. Why did the city's accounting team not catch these fraudulent invoices? Why were the auditing procedures not sufficient to catch this sooner? These questions remain, and whining about the criticism of Kruzan being "political" is a pathetic non-dodge.
Now, let's be real. Of course this is political. When you are dealing with the performance of elected officials and government agencies, such matters are inherently political. You better believe that if a Republican were Mayor, he would be facing criticisms from the Left, just as Republican officials in county government have faced harsh criticisms when they have made errors in the past. Let's drop the hypocritical whining about the political aspects of this scandal.
I have been accused of "blaming" Mayor Kruzan for this scandal. I did no such thing. The only person to "blame" for the theft is the city employee himself. That said, the obviously insifficuent internal financial controls that allowed this fraud to continue are legitimate areas of concern and ultimately Kruzan is responsible here. Kruzan is the Mayor and is the top authority over city employees. Like it or not, the buck stops with him.
Furthermore, Kruzan deserves 100% of the blame for his administration's actions surrounding this scandal. The idea that such secrecy is needed is absolutely absurd, as I demonstrated in my post on April 11. The nature of financial records that are open to the public does not change simply because there is a criminal investigation. The question remains: What is Kruzan trying to hide? What sort of political embarrassment will come from releasing the records that he is morally, legally and ethically obligated to release?
This is why Mark Kruzan needs to be challenged in 2015. If the Republican Party cannot find someone who is willing to provide voters a choice, someone needs to file as a write-in candidate. Kruzan should not go into the general election with no option for voters to choose someone else. While the odds of electing a Republican as Mayor are virtually zero (and the odds of a write-in candidate winning are even less) the voters deserve an opportunity to make that choice.