No one expects elected leaders to be saints, but when scandal in their personal lives becomes highly public, it’s hard to imagine that they can dispassionately concentrate on the duties they were elected to carry out.
It’s equally hard to imagine that voters still have faith that he or she is the right person for the job.
That’s the situation facing Arroyo Grande City Councilman Ed Arnold, who was arrested Dec. 15 for allegedly attacking a female city employee romantically linked to both him and his wife.
To be clear, it will be up to the criminal courts to decide whether Arnold is guilty of a crime.
The immediate issue is whether it’s appropriate for Arnold to continue to serve on the council. We don’t believe that it is.
The serious nature of the allegations raises questions about his character, and taints every decision he might make.It’s especially disturbing that Arnold is in a position to make decisions concerning city staff, when one of those staff members is his alleged victim.
Arnold’s silence isn’t helping his case; he hasn’t spoken publicly since his arrest, leaving the public with only one side of the story.
Shortly after his arrest, Arnold reportedly did tell Mayor Tony Ferrara that he was “leaning toward resigning,” and said that he would decide by the end of December.
Well, the end of December has come and gone, and still no word from Arnold.
In the meantime, disturbing new allegations have emerged not only about the attack on the city employee, but also about Arnold’s alleged treatment of his wife. She claimed in divorce filings that he prevented her from leaving the family home at least 50 times during their marriage.
Yet still we hear nothing from Arnold. Late last week, city officials weren’t even sure whether to expect him at tonight’s City Council meeting.
As of Monday afternoon, they had not received any update on his status.
We understand that Arnold may not want to comment on a criminal case, but his silence about his future on the council is a disservice to his colleagues, to the city staff and to the residents of Arroyo Grande, who deserve five council members who can give their full attention to issues facing the city.
We strongly urge Arnold to resign his seat. Dragging this out leaves the city in disarray; it’s time for the City Council to move forward and decide how to replace Ed Arnold with a new council member worthy of the job.