Charges will not be pursued against Ward Stone, the former head pathologist of New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation who was accused last year of mis-use of taxpayer dollars, taking up residence at the DEC, inappropriate use of state vehicles, abuse of underlings, and various other trespasses which would have landed most other public servants in jail.
The reasoning is likely because Stone, who retired in 2010, has since had four strokes and is currently in the hospital. Pursuing further action would be moot and likely cost the State even more money and resources. He’s already abused and wasted enough of our taxpayer dollars.
What bothered me, though, were those that came to his support and claimed that the charges shouldn’t have been pursued because of the stances he took.
More than 80 fans of former state wildlife pathologist Ward Stone put their names on a letter to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman urging him to disregard a referral from the inspector general’s office concerning the IG’s findings of years of improper behavior by the now-retired Department of Environmental Conservation veteran. The April 9 letter, describing Stone as the state’s “environmental superman,” was signed by representatives of a host of groups, including the Sierra Club, Save The Pine Bush, Dyken Pond Environmental Center, Occupy Albany, Frack Free Catskills and Community Advocates for Safe Emissions, and Albany County Legislator Doug Bullock and nature columnist Carol Coogan, plus four of Stone’s children and their mother. The missive was unnecessary, however, because Schneiderman had decided not to pursue a case against Stone not long after the IG sent him its highly critical findings, according to the AG’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Givner. “Upon reviewing the IG’s report in February, the Office of the Attorney General declined to pursue the matter further,” she said when asked for a response to the letter. She had no more comment
I’ll reiterate my initial reaction to the allegations, which hold even stronger now that this has all been put to bed:
I won’t ask if the ends justify the means, since the issue at hand is a bit more complicated than that, but I worry that too many people are eager to put the personality before the principles and use this as an indictment against those involved in the environmental movement and, on a much larger scale, any of those who view environmental conservation as a priority for the State.
What I’m saying is that we shouldn’t let this discourage those that are in a position to do some good. If anything, it should encourage more people within the system to take a stand when the State and its leaders are in the wrong. I mean, Hell, Ward Stone did it and yet he still got away with living at work, abusing subordinates, and shooting poor defenseless woodland creatures. What’s the worst they can do to you?
So, State officials and administrators, I urge you: be more like Ward Stone was to the public for so many years. Just don’t be like Ward Stone was to everyone else.
Shame on those who signed the letter knowing Ward was guilty of all he was accused of (and more). Actually, I’ll go further and state that all should be ashamed, because that letter specifically states that it was okay for Ward to have stolen from the State and its taxpayers simply because he felt he was owed more.
Part of being an adult and a decent human being is accepting responsibility when you have betrayed the trust of others, knowingly did wrong, and/or erred in an egregious manner. Nobody’s perfect, but a good deed does not absolve the individual of bad deeds, and it certainly does not provide just cause for committing wrong.
The sort of justification Stone’s supporters imply is not only logically and ethically unsound (do they really think there aren’t other people out there like Ward Stone who could have done what he did without his gross transgressions?), it’s potentially dangerous.
- Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye…
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