Article Comment 

Just expectations: Council correct in requiring responsible behavior from city workers attending conferences




The Columbus City Council''s decision in a special meeting Monday, to terminate the employment of a city firefighter who the city says violated its substance abuse policy, has raised questions of fairness in how the council metes out punishment of city workers. 


Our short story posted on on the action against 18-month firefighter Mitchell Banks has generated comments from readers both agreeing with and criticizing the council''s action.  


The firefighter in the incident was attending a conference in Jackson. He allegedly failed to attend the meeting, and reportedly was still intoxicated from the night before when awakened in his hotel room by the conference organizer, two hours into the session. 


Some of our readers have compared the incident to that of four Columbus police officers, who generated much publicity over their childish behavior in May at the Vicksburg National Military Park while in that city for a training session. 


Those officers were suspended for 15 working days without pay, which amounts to about a month off duty. (The officers are appealing the decision; the case is scheduled to be heard in February.) 


Some of our Web site readers allege the police officers, and maybe a few unnamed others, were "given a break" while this particular worker paid with his job. 


So, was it fair for the council to suspend the four officers, and fire the firefighter? 


While some see similarities (out-of-town meeting, unprofessional behavior) there are differences (substance abuse). And because these are personnel matters, all the details aren''t shared with the public. Bottom line: Each personnel incident must be viewed independently. 


We believe the council has the discretion to take what actions it sees fit, when dealing with city personnel who have clearly violated city policy. As taxpayers, we''re paying for the salaries of these city workers, and footing the bill for the training sessions. We expect a return on our investment. If the city sends workers, especially emergency personnel, to a training conference, we expect them to get trained and use that knowledge to better serve the citizens of this city -- not skip the meeting. 


We also expect them to behave as ambassadors of the city of Columbus, when representing us at an out-of-town conference. 


For these reasons, and if the incident is indeed as described, we believe the council took the proper action. 


We want the council to set the bar high for its city workers. The action it took Monday sends a clear message -- such behavior will not be tolerated.  


We only urge the council to be mindful of the prism some view them through. We expect the council members to hold themselves to rigorous standards as well, and strive to set the bar of accountability at equal height for all its workers.



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Reader Comments

Article Comment Thom Geiger commented at 12/11/2009 1:42:00 PM:

Quote: "We believe the council has the discretion to take what actions it sees fit, when dealing with city personnel who have clearly violated city policy."

Birney, Peter, Ms. Elliot, et al, I am extremely surprised that the ownership and staff of an openly liberal news publication would promote or condone the very idea of an employee policy, or any business or social policy for that matter, so broadly construed and "defined" as to allow total discretion in the treatment of people...employees, citizens, taxpayers, subject to the prevailing whims and prejudices of those meting out the benefits, awards, citations, punishments, promotions, demotions.
I find the concept of such a discriminatory policy to be such a gross violation of equal treatment that it is not worth the space or ink the newspaper used to support it. I have a hard time believing the editorial was actually written, read, approved and published. How, pray tell, can such a policy be defended in a court of law? I'd like to see some particulars on the successful defense of such policies, if you can cite them.
As one of our area's vocal and visible advocates of civil rights (unless I have misunderstood the political machinations behind the Dispatch's open support of Democrat/Liberal political candidates), I am shocked at this. I believe an explanation, beyond the offered 'they are in charge, so they can do what they want, any time they, to anyone they want', is owed, both to those who have believed in the newspaper's 21st century rebirth and a standard bearer of human rights and equality, and those many people the paper has criticized, many times over the years, for doing exactly what this policy (you support) would allow our elected officials to do.


Article Comment fairness commented at 12/11/2009 3:35:00 PM:

Looking at the article about the firefighter more people were for the fair treatment. I think you thr commercial dispatch just cut your own throat agreeing with the unfair punishment placed upon the employee. This is a great ethical lawsuit case that I personally would like to get seen taken to court. You the "great" editors of the macon sized newspaper couldn't forget about our police cheifs substance abuse. Or city council members seen in substance establishments. You should think about equal justice and not a tyrannical mayor and city council.


Article Comment taxpayer commented at 12/11/2009 4:21:00 PM:

I agree with Fairness above. The punishment wasn't right!!! Why didn't this fireman get suspended without a months pay??? I am worndering if the Chief is sleeping good at night with the descion he has made. If I was him I would be rethinking how fast I jumped to fire this fireman.


Article Comment Cast the first stone commented at 12/11/2009 4:40:00 PM:

It seems like to me you the comercial dispatch is agreeing with the punishment who ever is writing this article take a min to think about what you really saying and evaluate the situation. We as people are so quick to dish out punishment but when the shoe is on our foot then we want sympathy. I feel though the fireman was wrongly done the fact of the matter is he was drinking the night before not at the class or doing the class so what has he done wrong? Has anybody took the time to get Mr.Banks story? NO all the papers and news have done is took one side of the story and ran with it and publicly humiliated Mr. Banks this guy has a life and a family. They have left him no room to recover, and in fact probably made it harder to find another job. The chief made a mistake they suspended him and let him back on so why not the same punishment. The fact of the matter whoever has not made a mistake in there life throw the first stone!!!


Article Comment fairness commented at 12/11/2009 4:49:00 PM:

Thank you taxpayer thank goodness we agree now we have agree to vote against the mayor and city council. And cancel our subscription to the dispatch and get real city news from from the packet who doesn't sell out to starkville.


Article Comment columbus commented at 12/11/2009 4:51:00 PM:

give this fireman another chance , thanks;


Article Comment Take a stand commented at 12/11/2009 5:41:00 PM:

Sounds like to me Mr. Banks has been set up and this was something someone had already planned or was waiting on to happen. DOnt trust anyone but god. Be careful who you talk to.


Article Comment ashamed commented at 12/11/2009 5:59:00 PM:

I am ashamed to say I am from Columbus. Aside from this man not being treated fairly, the way I was raised he is a hero. Any man willing to sacrifice his life to save complete strangers and to deal with what they see is a hero. Maybe the people of columbus need to fire the chief and the city council next time they make a mistake and they better believe we will be watching.


Article Comment sugestion commented at 12/11/2009 6:42:00 PM:

A thorn to you commercial dispatch. Maybe to redeem yourself is to report more about what they do to sacrafice for the tax payers of Columbus.


Article Comment scared commented at 12/12/2009 7:41:00 AM:

Who published this crap. Where are you from, idiotville or mother Russia? This newspaper has stepped out of its realm of reality and has become a voice of the government. Last time I checked fellas I thought the news paper was to help its fellow brother and keep the facts straight and keep dirty politicians in check. But as i have said you have lost all touch of reality.


Article Comment reason commented at 12/12/2009 7:47:00 AM:

While not agreeing with the dispatch or the council. What Mr. Banks did was wrong. His punishment should be consistant with what other have been given in similar situations. If Mr. Banks was in a probation status, then the action the council took is correct and fair.

If I understand the situations between the Police officers and Mr. Banks, the punishment should not be the same, Mr. Banks was being paid to attend a training conference and didn't.
So Mr. Banks chose not to do the Job he was being paid to do.(a fighten thought that firemen wouldn't do the job their being paid to do)

Not all the firemen were allowed to attend this training, so he also took an opertunity away from other firemen that do the job their paid to do. He diminstrated poor judgement, and we do not know if there has been any other cases where he has diminstrated poor judgement. In his job, poor judgement can cost lives.

I would've thought if this was a first occurance, suspension without pay and paying the city back for the entire cost (travel, hotel, salary, training fee, ect..) would be fair.


Article Comment wrong commented at 12/12/2009 8:04:00 AM:

He volunteered because Noone else would take the class. He stepped up to leave his family. This is a simple case of over sleeping. Who hasn't done that, and if you have you yourself have cost someone cost of productivity. It just isn't just punishment for oversleeping.


Article Comment reason commented at 12/12/2009 8:23:00 AM:

wrong: - Point taken..However, If an employee over sleeps two hours, most would not be paid for that time, and depending on the job they do, might very well be fired.

If the pilot of the aircraft you were to take over slept two hours would you be happy paying for the flight you missed? Or the house that burned down because the firemen overslept two hours. while not agreeing with the firing if a first occurance.. We all need to be accountable and responsible for our actions.

BUt I will add our government officals must be fair and reasonable in dealing with city (tax payers) employees.


Article Comment wrong commented at 12/12/2009 8:43:00 AM:

Agreed, punishment was clearly deserved. But the severity of the punishment was unjust. I understand he drank the night before and that added to the cause but many of people have drank the night before lots of important venues. It's just a harsh punishment.


Article Comment wrong commented at 12/12/2009 9:27:00 AM:

Reason i understand that the misbehavior of a city (tax payer) employee is untolerable. But this is dealing with a mans livelihood. this man has crossed the thresh-hold many would never dare cross. He would be told to run into burning buildings, to save you as a tax payer without a second thought and he would do it without a thought for alot of these people who are criticizing this man. He is a hero in many peoples eyes and many times a unsung hero at that. IS putting his life on the line once enough for the small salary this man is paid? Is it enough that his family is at home worried if they will never see their husband,wife, son, daughter, as they leave in the morning for another days gamble.

These firemen have set aside their life for the safetly and protection of the city/tax payers. one wrong will be paid for in his career as a firefighter. With sacraficing alot more than anyone else in columbus will ever do in a lifetime, and often left unappreciated. We never really appreciate the value of these men untill you make the call and they are the only ones responding to your desperate plea for help.

9/11 was a wake up call for what these guys do but years have gone buy and people have forgotten what they did that day and weeks after. Referring to the Fire Department of New York, they sacraficed their lives and that would go for the same for the Columbus Fire Department. And yet we crucify these men for a simple mistake at a class that yes was important but mistakes are made and often need to be understood and be able to see below the crust what these guys do day in and day out.

Punishment is needed, and deserved. But this punishment is to harsh and detroying a hero inside.


Article Comment job commented at 12/12/2009 9:40:00 AM:

The commercial dispatch is wrong for even taking sides in this matter we the taxpayers also pay for this paper day in and day out and to basically tell us we are wrong for saying the counsel is wrong is out of line. I want buy another paper from these guys. Its not like there is anything important to read in there any who if they spend there time reporting this. If you look at the situation and ask yourself how many times has Mr. Banks made a mistake and how many times have he put his life on the line the punishment should have been simply a suspension.


Article Comment neverbuyinganotherpaper commented at 12/12/2009 9:54:00 AM:

Cancelled my subscription.


Article Comment reason commented at 12/12/2009 9:57:00 AM:

Wrong- By no means do I not feel that Fireman as well as all emergency responders, are not heros each and every day. It takes a special kind of person to be a Fireman, its not a Job for most, its a life, that they have chosen. Most people don't have that dedication to their job.

It is an honorable profession and there is a great deal of public trust in each and everyone of them. Is it fair that they are paid so poorly for being held to such higgher standards. No, the Major, and other city employees are likely paid much better and yet are allowed to be human.

I believe most would agree Mr. Banks made a mistake, that the Punishment (atleast based on the known facts) was too harsh. I believe the point of the article was we have elected these officals and the position to which they fill and those positions have the right to perform their job. Now with that we as votes also have the right not to vote for those individuals we feel have not performed their jobs properly and we should hold them to the same high standards and issue the same punishment to them.

So my point is, remember and don't vote for these individuals when election time comes around, no matter their political promises.
Unfortunatly Mr. Banks is the only one that can truely deal with his personal situation and appeal/sue the city for his injustice


Article Comment Unaswered questions!?! commented at 12/12/2009 11:21:00 AM:

How do you know he missed the meeting? How do you know he was still intoxicated? How do you know even if he was intoxicated? How did you get your information, was it from people who was not there or word of mouth? Where is your proof?

I have noticed that our local paper the commercial dispatch has gotten smaller over the years, but Roger Larsen of the Columbus Packet is continuing to grow every week. Should Mr.Larsen spend the time to ride to Jackson and get the facts?

It appears as though the Dispatch and city counsel agree with the statement made by one man the fire Chief who was not even there! Is there a police report for the breathalizer test or blood test? How does it work? The counsel checks your record before they hire do they check it before they fire you? Do the counsel know this guy personally?

How did the WCBI News know about it in such a short period of time? How can a man life, future, family be wiped out so fast over one man statement who could have possibly got the wrong information? In such a short period of time how did the chief really investigate what happened?

How can the city counsel and fire chief be so perfect and make a decision so fast that can ruin a carrer and break somebody within minutes and behind closed doors without anybody knowing?

So many unanswered questions by the very men we voted in to be fair and just and trustworthy with this City?

How can the city counsel and fire chief manage to be so perfect over these years? Have they made a mistake and its being covered up?

A good local newspaper staff uncovers the truth and the facts and hears both sides of the story before making a judgement call!

Mr. Larsen over the years the columbus packet has been known to uncover the truth, we havent heard from you can you uncover the truth for us? Because it seems as though the counsels favored commercial dispatch has failed!!!

SO SO SO many unanswered questions, until the commercial dispatch, the Counsel or FIre chief can answer any of these questions I feel as though they should not mention this incident and effective immediately withdraw there decision to terminate Mr.Banks and suspend him without pay until this incident is resolved properly!!


Article Comment friend commented at 12/12/2009 11:31:00 AM:

Mitch, keep you head up,alot of people behind you.


Article Comment MARV commented at 12/12/2009 11:37:00 AM:

PLEASE ! Just the facts-fair-both sides. Not your side.


Article Comment lewis commented at 12/12/2009 12:13:00 PM:

Are there any Fireman out there that know this guy, and have worked closely with him. whats he like. His dude seems to have a lot of support. not sure what to think .


Article Comment unanimous commented at 12/12/2009 12:46:00 PM:

I have worked closely with Mr. Banks. Mr. Banks is a very professional dedicated individual. He is a very early riser he is always the first up making coffee for the rest of the guys. He works hard, he busted his butt at the Mississippi Fire Academy, and just recieved his National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians which is an accomplishment itself two to three weeks prior to this incident. I believe he would of been an asset to the city of columbus. He was dedicated to staying in shape and ran three or four miles on shift or either in his neighborhood dedicating his fitness to the fire department and the citizens of columbus. Mr. Banks was a dedicated father to his step child and his just recently married wife. Mr. banks has a heart of gold and would give his shirt off of his back for any stranger. Mr. Banks was a man that most people would be proud to have the opportunity to say that they knew personally. I know he made a mistake and he should be punished like anyone else in any profession or in life. But they have torn a dream he cared so much for and dedicated his hard work to. So I hope this helps, But I am not arguing the decision for some kind of punishment. But Wished the mayor, city council, and fire cheif would rethink their decision. God Bless!


Article Comment lp commented at 12/12/2009 2:26:00 PM:

Unanimous couldn't have described him better. I have known Mitch for several years now and could only hope and pray that if me or my family ever needed rescuing that Mitch would be the one doing it. I know without a doubt he would do everything possible to save us including risking his own life. Thank God for second chances or otherwise none of us would be here today.


Article Comment Gerald Banks commented at 12/12/2009 4:12:00 PM:

Thanks for all the comments, we all know Mitch took a hit. If you know him you will agree he is one of the greatest guys on earth. This job meant a great deal to him ,he talked to me about the super guys he worked with and he was looking forward to moving up the ladder. My brother Mitch is one of the stongest men I know and will get through this just fine and something great will come out of this. Mitch keep your up head up, Love Big Bro


Article Comment marv commented at 12/12/2009 5:53:00 PM:

QUESTION ! Has the Fire Chief ever done anything that would be as bad OR worse than this???


Article Comment Wendell commented at 12/12/2009 8:39:00 PM:

I agree with some of the others on here as to how quickly this all went down. How could this have truly been investigated properly, so quickly? How does the conference director know that the Mr. Banks was still intoxicated, did he give him a field sobriety test, does he have some psychic ability to tell he was "hungover". How many people that work for the city of Columbus have gone out of town to conferences, had a few drinks the night before, and then been late to the first meeting of the morning. I'm sure the city council thought they could do this quickly and just sweep it under the rug. But guess what, they were wrong. We the people are watching, waiting for one of them to make a mistake, waiting for election time. They have taken away the livlihood of this man, and here at Christmas. The newspaper, city council and fire cheif have it all WRONG, but that's just my opinion. Maybe someone should look into what they are up to while they are on tax payer's money. I'm sure there are more than a few skeletons in the closet. But you know in this time we live in, it's not WHAT you know, it's WHO you know. I'm sure if Mr. Banks had known the "right" people, this never would have happened. SHAME on you Commercial Dispatch, SHAME on you Fire Chief, and SHAME on you City Council.


Article Comment Hack commented at 12/13/2009 10:30:00 AM:

It does not surprise me one bit that our beloved hometown rag would side with the powers that be. What happened to unbiased reporting? Some of you folks need to take a refresher course in Journalism 101. Just the facts; no personal embellishment necessary. It is apalling (but not surprising) to see the Disgra... I mean Dispatch, take sides in this and other subjects. It is your job to report the news, not to take sides. IF I had a subscription I would cancel it. "Reporting" like this is what has made your "news"paper a joke for as long as I can remember.


Article Comment Jessica commented at 12/13/2009 10:39:00 AM:

unanimous- Everything you wrong is Mitch, I couldn't have said it better. I have know him for 10 years now and he has always keep in shape. Could outrun many at the fire dept. I'm sure of that!!!! People make mistakes!! Where's his second chance????? I would like to hear more from those of you have worked closely with Mitch. I am going to agree with Wendell....SHAME on you Commercial Dispatch, SHAME on you Fire Chief, and SHAME on you City Council. GIVE THIS MAN HIS SECOND CHANCE!!!


Article Comment Diane commented at 12/13/2009 1:42:00 PM:

I agree with unanimous and Jessica, I have know him for about 10 years now. I have been around him alot in the past 10 years and it has been all good times when he was around. I know a few years back I was having a hard time and he sent me flowers to my work. How many men do you know would do this just to lift you up when you are down. Not many that I know. I will stand up for Mitch and know a lot of other people will also. Some of you who are posting a comment and do not know him should meet him. How can you make a bad comment about a person who you do not even know. He steped up and went to this meeting because no one else would go. Would you have done this? All of you other fire fighters should stand up for this man. He loved this job and loved helping other people. This was what he wanted to do. A fire fighter puts their life out there for all of us. I think that the city Council needs to have people looking out for the kids who are riding around with their parents not in car seat or not in a seat belt. I see this type of mess every day in Columbus, but no you fire a man who has over sleep so they say. There is no way he over sleep unless he was set up. Mitch would be the first person up in the house. There may be some things come out that you higher ups may not want out to come out. Things happen behind closed doors. What would be better than for you dispatch, chief, council people to let SANTA GIVE THIS MAN HIS JOB BACK. Hang in there Mitch we are behind you and will be there for you and your family when needed. What comes around goes around.


Article Comment help this good man commented at 12/13/2009 5:37:00 PM:

All of you people of Columbus need to wake up and see this kind of mess is why jobs are leaving this area. I would not open a busness in a town that done people like this. You should stand up for your people and help them in any way you can. do not just trash them out to the dogs. get them help if needed or just listen to what they have to say. no this is to easy for you to do lets start some sh-- in our town. looks like to me the paper has just lost several sales of papers. and if I took the paper I would also drop it. I hope none of you who had a hand in this man losing his job can not sleep at night. I am sure you went to church today and sat on pins and needles for what you have done to a good man. sorry if you are all so good that you have never done anything wrong. like a lady at work says a lie does not care who tells it even the higher up can tell some good ones if it helps them. chief's and council's can do so.


Article Comment Thom Geiger commented at 12/13/2009 6:24:00 PM:

reason | 12/12/2009 7:47:00 AM
"If I understand the situations between the Police officers and Mr. Banks, the punishment should not be the same, Mr. Banks was being paid to attend a training conference and didn't."

So you are essentially saying the Vicksburg PD crew wasn't being paid to attend that conference? I'm calling you out on that. In fact, that is an outright lie, a falsehood, untrue. In a city patrol car no less? You want to reload that bullet and try again?
News Flash to you 'reason' and the CD crew; There was and is no difference between the two incidents, aside from the indisputable facts (go ahead and try Birney) that whatever Mr. Banks did was in the privacy of a hotel/motel room, while what the Vicksburg crew was in an open public area, in a national park, in view of public citizens, in a marked city vehicle, on city time (that's right, 'reason', on city time and the taxpayers' dime) and the Vicksburg bunch just had to involve a national park ranger.
How in any sane reality can you 'reason' or anyone at the Dispatch claim the situations were different (as in the Hicks situation was somehow worse that the Vicksburg fiasco) to the point of Mr. Hicks deserved termination? Birney, you have enough money, buy yourself a clue once and a while before you go blowing your already limited credibility. Steve and Pete are obviously not helping, and you do NOT! have the every day experiences of the common citizen to base a reasonable opinion on about things that will determine the future of far more of us than of the more wealthy in our community.
After you've watered and fed at Ms. Helen's, why don't you do yourself and those minions and small people who depend on you for a living, and get down to someplace like an auto parts store, or the American Legion (or VFW), a junkyard, or a hardware store and talk to some real people? Find out what real people, not the art and snob crowd think? What we do for a living and what we think of the newspaper, the reporting, the stories and the paper's leanings on things like this Hicks deal? Why don't YOU debate somebody Birney? Why don't YOU go one on one with somebody you can't buy and can't control? Hunh? Scared?
Better yet, how about you or Petey just delete this post. I mean, what would that be, five messages you've deleted from me so far? Not to mention an entire comment section? Pete, you're getting almost as good at deleting content as Birney was in 2003. Keep it up and you just might pass him by. Face it, I can take more personal criticism on my site than you can on yours, but I'm just an ordinary common guy. Keep trying Birney, but you will never be one of us, think like one of us, act like one of us, feel what we fell or know what we know, no matter how hard you try. That public education didn't do a thing for you on that. You might as well have gone to Harvard.
Hicks deserved equal treatment and he didn't get it. Instead, all you can do is support a policy of inequality and discrimination. I knew that would surface eventually. Limousine champagne liberalism aside, you can't fight it. Equality and the Commercial Dispatch are not good company and never have been. Face it and accept it.


Article Comment ty commented at 12/14/2009 4:07:00 PM:

WOW, WOW, WOW.....since when does a good reporter or a good newspaper show bias....leave it to the commercial dispatch. I can not believe this article...i can not believe this newspaper. :(


Article Comment Neil Tentoni commented at 12/14/2009 6:04:00 PM:

Mr. Geiger,

I often respect much of what you say, but sometimes you go too far. The Commercial Dispatch is a small town newspaper that serves our community. Sometimes I get angry at what is being reported (such as this article), but I am proud to call the Dispatch my hometown newspaper. I happen to know and have had the pleasure of being associated with some of "those minions and small people" who depend on Mr. Imes for a living. I am also sure that Mr. Imes depends on those good employees as well.
As for being Imes being a "liberal," you make that sound like such a dirty word. Not all Liberals or Conservatives think the same way. So why, Mr. Geiger, use the word "liberal" in a derogatory way? I repsect you very much, Mr. Geiger...but getting pissed is not going to win you any contests. Your original post (the first post to this article) hit the nail on the head, but your last post was out of line.


Article Comment More to Come commented at 12/14/2009 9:53:00 PM:

Oh boy here it comes COLUMBUS CITY POLICE ARREST CITY EMPLOYEE in the act of burglary at the LANDFILL of all places. Now I am questioning the leadership at CITY HALL, Councilman,Box, Karriem,Taylor,Mickens,Stewart, and most of Mayor Robert Smith are you fellows going to keep turning a blind eye to bad managenment by your chosen leaders or does Columbus need to clean house at city hall and get new leaders????


Article Comment you pay commented at 12/14/2009 11:54:00 PM:

The city of Columbus pays its employees peanuts what do you expect. The city council wants to spend millions on buses and flood planes but under pay its employees.


Article Comment More to Come commented at 12/15/2009 6:47:00 AM:

Quoting You Pay
"The city of Columbus pays its employees peanuts what do you expect. The city council wants to spend millions on buses and flood planes but under pay its employees."

So this justifies acting like idiots in a national park, getting drunk while on assignment for the fire department and stealing from your employer??? Go greif what are you thinking??? Is this a stick it to the man movement? Does you taking a job knowing what it pays give you the right to lose all moral judgement and do what feels good? You knew what the job payed when they hired you, be thankful you have a job as there are many folks out there right now who do not and would do anything to take your job. I just can't believe you would try to justify stealing by claiming the City of Columbus doesn't pay well. That is sad, very sad indeed... and LAME as well.


Article Comment you pay commented at 12/15/2009 10:48:00 AM:

More to Come, I never said it justifies acting like morons or oversleeping at a conference. It just relates to the basics of quality and investment. You wouldn't buy a 400 car and expect you not to give you problems and a major headache everytime you turn around. You would buy the 20,000 dollar car to last you and hardly ever give you problems.
look at biloxi, southhaven, and olive branch cities they pay their employees better and I bet my left toe they hire quality employees that respect their employer for fair wages, and rarely have problems with their conduct.
And to your statement "You knew what the job payed when they hired you," No quality employee would ever apply for lower wages knowing they could go somewhere better.

And for the statement "I just can't believe you would try to justify stealing by claiming the City of Columbus doesn't pay well. That is sad, very sad indeed" It is a proven fact lower paying employers who pay less have a higher percentage rate of embezelment from its company. it might just be a thought of sticking it to the man, or just an act of desperation, or because of financial problems at home.

You get what you pay for, that is one of the best common sense statements i have ever heard. But by no regard this ever to be an excuse for bad behavior. but this is where the root of them problem exsist.

Low paid teachers low levels of education, low paid construction workers, below par construction, it is a true statement and it shows.

so before you start stating this is a lame excuse, which sounds you make more than many of the citizens of columbus, put yourself in the shoes of someone barely making over minimum wage supporting a family and everytime they turn around a penny or a dollar is getting taken away from them it affects the way people think.


Article Comment More To Come commented at 12/15/2009 12:53:00 PM:

You pay, you're correct you get what you pay for. I guess I was raised in a different era, I am 44 about to be 45 years old, male, I have had some pretty low paying jobs in my time just due to the fact I had to have a job to make ends meet sometimes I had 3 different jobs at once just to be able to see the switch for the light at the end of the tunnel, but I just do not understand how, a low paying job is an excuse or (REASON) to steal period!!! As far as low paid teachers HA!! Do not get me started I know some teachers and know exactly how much they are paid or overpaid. So I will not go down that slippery slope with you. They work 6:30 am until 4 pm get an hour lunch and 1 free period work 9.5 month out of 12 and make well above the earning average in Mississippi, most of them go to college already knowing how much it pays and accept it when taking the job then use it to defend low grade averages and failures in their classrooms. If they knew this coming in and didn't want to do it then why in the world do it, why you ask? Because they see it as an easy job good money then they use poor grades and failures in the class room trying to squeeze a few more dollars out of you and I the tax payers... Money doesn't fix everything; the love of money just like in the bible is the root of all evil!!! I agree with most of what your saying about you get what you pay for, but low pay isn't the cause of him stealing from our city POOR MORALS are what causes that.


Article Comment Appeal the decision!!!! commented at 12/15/2009 3:06:00 PM:

My family has known Mitch for 20 plus years.He is a good man and a good friend.I manage employees and can tell you that everyone makes a mistake but you have to give folks a second chance. How much taxpayer money has been spent to train Mitch over the last 18months and now the chief just throws it away because he can.That was a waste of taxpayer money because now a new person has to be trained to take his place and this will cost more money!! Mitch made a mistake, he is a GREAT fireman and I encourage Mitch to appeal his termination. I think he would and should win his job back.


Article Comment you pay commented at 12/15/2009 5:07:00 PM:

More to come, I totally agree that money is root of all evil. I totally agree that this man should have his morals in check. But crime is a easy, quick, and sometimes under thought way to make a buck and put food or whatever they are stealing for. I feel no remorse for the man that stole, he should be punished. he took the risk and got caught.

teachers... ha ha they have it made.

But with paying more money the employer can set strict hiring processes, this would thin the bad seeds from the good ones. It would draw more qualified and quality employees. The example of this would be a military pay scale. The officers make a whole bunch more than the little enlisted man, why because the Officer has four years college he is qualified and sometimes other than not a quality individual.

My first comment was out of line without explanation. I am a 27 year old trying to make it working two knuckle busting jobs barely getting a piece of the pie. I was interested in becoming a cop for the city but the pay was below par for what risk i was willing to risk to do. So i can kinda relate with the past city employees that have been fired. And uphold the city offcials to part of the blame also. But it is a million points of view that could correct this situation. its politics.

But i do like the debate, hopefully certain individuals are reading these comments and soaking up some of the ideas portrayed by its citizens.


Article Comment My Town commented at 12/16/2009 1:51:00 AM:

Once again, ok lets start with the Fire Chief, Mr. Ken More. I know your not perfect, and I will leave it at that. If I was in your position, I would go back to the City Council and re-think this punishment, I couldn't sleep at night if I was in your position. I think you are a great Fire Chief, but your punishment is way to harse. I think if Mr. Banks doesn't get a second chance, you should step down as the Fire Chief for not thinking this through. Now on to the City Council, shame on all of you, this was NOT the right punishment, way to harse. Each one of you need to also re-think this, then give him the correct punishment. I was born and raised in Columbus,Ms and have always been proud of my city, but this has really touched me, makes me feel ashamed of my home town. Mr. Banks made the mistake and its up to the City Council and the Fire Chief to punish him, but lets be fair. Looking at the other comments, most of the citizens of Columbus agree with me, the punishment was way to harse.


Article Comment Peter Imes commented at 12/16/2009 12:49:00 PM:

Thom: In February of this year we went from a website that required the manual approval of all story comments to a website that allows readers to comment anonymously. Other readers are able to flag inappropriate comments. Unless extreme profanity is used, we leave this flagging process solely in the hands of readers. Upon doing a search of ALL comments that have ever been removed from the site, I found a single comment with your name on it. If you want details on that comment and the reason the flagging person found the comment inappropriate, please email me and I will be happy to give you those details. The fact that there are hundreds of comments throughout the site that criticize The Dispatch- many of which that offer stronger criticism than you do- supports my claim that we do not censor comments.


Article Comment Doing His Job commented at 12/21/2009 8:28:00 PM:

ALL of you so called tax payers who are quick to jump to the burning of this Fire Chief ought to be shameful.. This man did his job (unlike others) and this poor defenseless man you all want to appeal; thats a joke!! Who in this town would condone a man drinking all night (on city time) and attending; or in this case not giving a squat about going to training that YOU my friends and fellow tax payers are paying for.. GIVE ME A BREAK.. that is ridiculous thinking.. Kenneth Moore did his duty and stuck to the NO tolerance Policy just like he is required to do.. You people make me sick.. IF it was your home; family; this drunken fireman came to rescue; OH THEN THERE WOULD BE PROBLEMS!!! And then IT would be blamed on this CHIEF.. and to whoever said that they hope this man can sleep; WELL I ASSURE YOU; WHEN YOUR CONSCIENCE IS CLEAR FOR DOING THE RIGHT THING THEN YOU CAN.. is yours???????? You my friends DONT know what goes on when some of these men go out of town.. HA drinking in excess is just one of the little screw ups!! Some are just tooooo blind to see it..


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