People that run for public office often adopt the title of “public servant”. Politicians campaign on the idea of public service and try and leave a legacy that indicates to most the honor they are due for their efforts. But oddly enough, one of the most interesting times to test the motivation of a public servant can be when they lose.
For example, look at the previous article on George W. Bush. Bush continues to be committed to Africa and remains almost totally silent as the current President and his dragoons use him as a punching bag and an excuse bank. This work and his behavior after his presidency, is an indication that there is a good chance any fair minded person will look back at George W. Bush and view him as someone who was a patriot.
The 39th President, as poor of an executive as many of us believe he was, also has a post Presidency many indications that he was motivated by the desire to make the world a better place. To many of us, the less Jimmy Carter is involved or comments on foreign affairs the better. But his work with Habitat for Humanity and the sincerity of his convictions have some point to his post Presidency as an example of public service.
In Liberty County we had a District Judge lose in 2010 that decided to take the law books the court relies on when he cleaned his office out. Former District Judge Rusty Hight was never charged and, as far as we know, never even apologized. But Hight severely damaged an already unimpressive legacy by his actions after his landslide defeat.
At the end of May, Henry Patterson set a record by losing his re-election bid by more votes than any incumbent sheriff in the history of Liberty County. Bobby Rader’s victory was huge and after defeating Patterson and Will Cox in the Republican primary, he has no Democrat opponent.
The seven months Patterson serves as a lame duck sheriff will not only effect the department he is responsible for, it will decide his legacy. What kind of shape will he leave the Liberty County Sheriff’s Department in? Will he spend taxpayer money wisely and efficiently and leave the department better equipped than when he took over? Will he show up for work and be an example that carries forward to the next administration? Will he leave records that for future administrations to emulate (how about records, for instance, that show how he has used assets confiscated from criminals)?
The answers to these questions and more will soon be known. And the legacy of this sheriff, like all public officials, will soon be sealed as he leaves office.
The sames questions are being asked about Liberty County DA Mike Little and if his replacement Logan Pickett who has now taken over the running of the DA's office will be an improvement or befall the same "legacy" as Henry Patterson- only time will tell.