The public’s trust and duty

Published 10:02 am Wednesday, November 1, 2017

It is key for individuals running for public office to have the public’s trust and to conduct their campaigns in a strictly ethical manner. Treating that trust as sacred and those ethics as nonnegotiable are key ingredients in being elected and staying in office for an extended period of time.

Aspen/Phenix Supervisor Haywood Hamlet is no stranger to those concepts as an experienced public servant, but he also became somewhat of a cautionary tale last week. He turned himself into Virginia State Police (VSP) on Oct. 24 and was arrested on one felony count of making a false statement in connection with an election form.

According to VSP Public Relations Director Corinne Geller, the charge stems from an investigation into an allegation against Hamlet concerning a potential violation of procedure in securing signatures on an election form. She said the investigation remains ongoing at this time.

Hamlet is to be commended for coming forward himself to police. At the same time, it remains to be seen what he could have done to avoid being in violation of the law to begin with.

When asked Oct. 24, he gave no comment regarding his arrest or the upcoming election, noting he had been advised by his attorney not to answer any questions to anyone.

Previously, Hamlet said that he would run as a write-in candidate for the Aspen/Phenix district after failing to get enough signatures to appear on the ballot.
He was one of only two candidates vying for the Aspen/Phenix district supervisor seat, which as of now are set to appear as write-in candidates in the Nov. 7 general election.

The public will determine Hamlet’s future in public office. It is a decision that for some may be easy and for others more difficult. Be sure to do your duty and vote Nov. 7.