Opinion: Fiscal court dropped the ball on its decision on coroner ethics case

Editor’s Note: The writer is the Republican candidate for Nelson County judge executive.

Dear Editor:

With a victory for ethics and law, the Joint City-County Ethics Board took deliberate action to correct the abuses of office by Field Houglin as Nelson county coroner.  The Ethics Board recommended a recovery of several thousands of opinion_maindollars from Mr. Houghlin for his breaking of the law, the very law that the Nelson County Fiscal Court and Dean Watts put into place to prevent nepotism in our local governments.  The ignorance or willful refusal of Dean Watts to enforce such basic laws for honest government does not change the fact he is now called to recover public monies.

The only ray of morality and compliance of the law was Magistrate Jeff Lear.  I applaud his vote to hold the coroner responsible for his unethical and illegal actions.

Even to the most casual of observers, nepotism within the coroner’s office is just the tip of the iceberg of further ethical issues with the County Government led by Dean Watts.  I would encourage a healthy and investigative media and citizenship to review the level of nepotism throughout the Nelson County government.  The people of Nelson County deserve nothing less than a completely open and honest government.

We currently read that our President ignores the laws of the country, and now we read in the news that Dean Watts ignores the very laws he put into place.  Why he ignores and breaks the laws is not truly known, but the question still remains why are the ethics of Nelson County government further compromised by Dean Watts?  Dean Watts now refuses to collect taxpayer money showing a complete break with the rule of law, and leaving the taxpayers of Nelson County holding the bag.

Leadership requires responsibility, and the person in charge no matter the issue, must take responsibility.  I safely speak for many people in Nelson County that we expect our public monies to be recovered as the Join City-County Ethics Board recommended, reviews made to remove other abuses of nepotism in County government, and promises to prevent such future issues from embarrassing our residents.

I can promise today, I will never hire my family into Nelson County government when I am Nelson County Judge Executive.  This practice debases the integrity of government and breaks down trust.  It is something even the most partisan person would find revolting.  A promise is made by me to never condone or partake in nepotism.

Peter Trzop

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