Alabama must fight for accountability

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 4, 2004

Regardless of your politics, accountability weighs heavy on most Alabamians’ minds.

State Auditor Beth Chapman certainly had it in mind as she spoke to Selma’s Rotary Club at the St. James Hotel on Monday.

Chapman, a Republican, spoke to a group of about 40 people on the subject.

We applaud her efforts to tighten the state’s fiscal belt in a time of financial difficulty, and we hope they do not go unsung.

That’s why we’ve chosen to sing for her here.

It’s a mantra families and businesses live by. According to Chapman, it’s also one her office will live by as long as she retains it.

Chapman gave several examples of accountability. One story involved state-owned laptops &uot;growing legs&uot; and walking away from the legislature.

In many businesses, she noted, employees must virtually jump through hoops in order to use a company-owned laptop.

Should it be any different for government?

Another example of accountability was Chapman’s discovery of 18 cars and trucks missing from one state agency when she began her job.

When her child heard the story, he asked, &uot;How does somebody lose a truck?&uot;

How, indeed.

Accountability, though, doesn’t start with cars and trucks.

It starts with the $60 chair Chapman bought for her office instead of one costing more than $1,000.

It starts with the honesty and integrity Chapman said is needed for anyone to get elected to public office.

We not only welcome, but we expect those traits in our leaders. We expect what Chapman termed &uot;Mickey Mantle&uot; values &045; the values that you won’t trade or give away for any reason.