Editor: Last year, Arlington County Board member (and Metropolitan Washington Area Transit Authority board member) Christian Dorsey accepted a $10,000 campaign contribution from Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, the largest Metro union, which he failed to report in a timely manner.

For this behavior, the Metro board unanimously voted in November to reprimand Mr. Dorsey and forced him to give up his finance-committee chairmanship. The WMATA board chairman also asked Mr. Dorsey to return the $10,000 donation.

Mr. Dorsey also paid his wife $8,000 to serve as his campaign manager, thus turning much of the Local 689 donation into a personal gift to his household.

I am not aware that any member of the County Board has publicly expressed concern about these events. So, we have to assume that board members have no problem with this kind of behavior.

What lesson should county-government employees take from this? If you’re a health inspector and a restaurant owner offers you some gifts – for example, tickets to a Nats game – should you accept them? Well, if you look to the County Board for guidance, you won’t see any reason for refusing. You’d be a square or a sucker if you stood on principles and refused.

What if you’re a building inspector and a builder offered you money, just to thank you for your hard work on their project? What if you’re a police officer?

The County Board has no higher responsibility than maintaining the ethical integrity of county government. Our County Board – and each of its members individually – failed miserably at this critical responsibility.

Even the Metro board, with all its problems, was able to bring itself to act in this case.  

Bill Roos, Arlington

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