As you all undoubtedly know, our esteemed Circuit Clerk, Binkey Vines, was indicted on 13 counts of embezzlement of $228,760 of taxpayer money. That's not small potatoes! Then on Friday, May 4, he pled guilty, but through some bizarre ruling by a judge in another county, he basically got off with a slap on the wrist. He can still serve and run for reelection! For details, see the initial story in the Natchez Democrat.
This is my favorite Binkey quote:
"I’m a good circuit clerk, and I’m a bad bookkeeper.”
This leads me to the title of this article - what's a good circuit clerk anyway? According to the Mississippi Official & Statistical Register, the Circuit Clerk is the chief officer of the Circuit Clerk and the chief elections officer. Basically, the Circuit Clerk is an administrator of two very important functions of county government. So what is a good administrator? According to the dictionary, it's someone who manages or has a talent for managing.
So are you a good manager if you:
- Misplace almost $230,000 - especially when that amount is about equal to the annual gross income of your office? Think of your annual salary, and then try to imagine misplacing that amount of money.
- Fail to file annual reports with the State that are required by law for several years running? Try to imagine not filing your income tax returns for one year, never mind several years.
- Still have not filed the latest report? If only Uncle Sam was so lenient.
- Blame an employee who was out sick for all your problems? Was she sick for three years?
- Refuse to accept any responsibility for misdeeds? He is totally innocent, since this is all a sinister political plot by his enemies.
- Consistently get "findings" (bad reports) in your annual financial audit and don't even bother to respond? Sort of like getting failing grades on your report card and totally ignoring them.
I'm sorry, but this man is not only a bad bookkeeper, but a bad Circuit Clerk. Actually, "bad" is not a strong enough word - I prefer abhorrent, appalling, atrocious, awful, beastly, dangerous, desperate, dire, disastrous, disturbing, dreadful, extreme, fearful, frightful, ghastly, gruesome, harrowing, hateful, hideous, horrendous, horrible, horrid, horrifying, loathsome, monstrous, obnoxious, odious, offensive, petrifying, repulsive, revolting, rotten, serious, severe, shocking, terrible, unnerving, unpleasant, unwelcome, vile. Oooh, I like that last word - Vile Vines!!
Do you really want Vile Vines in charge of your elections? Do you want Vile Vines managing your courts of law? YUCK - NO!! Anyone who still votes for this man is either missing a few brain cells or is not in contact with reality.
ADDENDUM: How could I have forgotten? Are you a good manager if you keep bouncing checks to repay loans? And how does he solve this problem? By cutting staff, of course! I wonder if that poor sick bookkeeper is one of them. (See article and editorial in Democrat.)