We spend some of our time in this space pointing out when those on our public payroll don’t do the right thing when it comes to the public trust.
So, it’s only fair that we also point out when public officials do the right thing. Today is one of those days.
I’ve always known Peabody City Clerk Tim Spanos to be both professional and honorable, and my positive opinion of the job he does as the city’s chief election official was affirmed last night when my wife Maureen and I went to vote at the Kiley School polling place.
Following some very bad behavior by poll workers at the Kiley when I ran for Ward 5 Councilor in last fall’s city election, Mr. Spanos not only took my complaint seriously, but he also acted to ensure that no candidate would ever have his or her bid for office jeopardized by unprofessional, and potentially illegal activities by supposedly unbiased election officials.
Simply put, he cleaned house at the Kiley. Poll workers who participated in campaigning for my opponent, Joel Saslaw, while on duty as election officials, are no longer working the polls.
Saslaw’s margin of victory was less than 90 votes, and the behavior of these rogue poll workers immediately questioned the validity of the outcome. Spanos also banned the use of cell phones inside polling places across the city, since the bad actor poll workers in question used their phones for their illegal electioneering activities.
This is the first time I’ve written about the episode, choosing instead to file official complaints with the Secretary of State, State Ethics Commission, and Mr. Spanos. I initially thought about legal action against the city, but Tim Spanos’ responsiveness and professionalism during that time gave me the confidence that I could trust him to take care of the situation.
He did, and now any future candidate who decides to run against Mr. Saslaw can expect a level playing field on Election Day.
It’s nice to know that Peabody voters can be secure in the knowledge that we have an honest and professional man as our chief elections official.
Hats off to Tim Spanos.
Follow Bob on Twitter @eyeonpeabody