EDITORIAL: Convicted councilman should now resign

2014-04-01T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL: Convicted councilman should now resign nwitimes.com
April 01, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Gary City Councilman Ronier Scott is scheduled to be sentenced this morning for failing to file his taxes. It's yet another grim moment for Lake County politics.

What would make it worse, though, would be for Scott to hold onto his office instead of resigning in disgrace.

Having been convicted on misdemeanor, but not felony, charges of public corruption, Scott is not legally required to leave office. But having betrayed the public's trust, he should voluntarily resign.

Scott was convicted for not filing tax returns for 2008 and 2009 as well as 2000 through 2003. That's seven years of not paying his taxes.

Prosecutors are asking Scott be incarcerated for 10 months, divided between prison and home confinement.

"Scott was elected by the citizens of Gary, Ind., to serve the people," Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Bell wrote in a recent court filing. "When he accepted that responsibility, he also took an oath to uphold the law. ... As a result, Scott, like all elected public officials, had a heightened duty to demonstrate the highest degree of integrity in tax matters."

His conviction in February shows he fell far short of that ideal.

Scott's sentencing today comes on the heels of former Gary Councilwoman Marilyn Krusas' felony conviction on tax evasion. Krusas was automatically removed from office under state law because she was convicted of a felony.

Gary's residents deserve better representation than they have received from Scott and Krusas.

Scott was dishonorable as well as deceitful when he failed to file income tax returns those seven years. But now he has the opportunity and responsibility to do something honorable for his city.

Scott must resign to begin to restore honor to the Gary City Council in particular, but also to Gary city government in general.

He's done enough damage to Gary's reputation. Don't make it worse.

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