Those of us who analyze state politics and its inner workings are often quick to pounce on an issue when things don’t add up, when something has gone awry or someone has acted irresponsibly.
We should be equally as quick to give kudos to those who speak out and stand up, who take responsibility when it’s easier to place blame or hide behind some semblance of plausible deniability.
Settlements were recently paid out in two cases involving sexual discrimination and sexual harassment with the Mississippi Department of Public Safety. One of the settlements has been made public; the other has not.
In that one case now made public, the settlement was for $75,000 to Penny Nichols Corn. She was a DPS employee who sued claiming sexual discrimination and retaliation by Director Rusty Barnes.
This week, Governor Phil Bryant stepped up and addressed this matter head on, calling for the terms of the settlement to be released and establishing a new online course for state employees that identities such unwanted and inappropriate behavior in the workplace. He went out of his way to do it the right way.
Here is a short video from his interview with the Clarion Ledger. In it you will hear Gov. Bryant say, “We have to take responsibility of things that went wrong,” and he adds what he can do now is “make sure that people understand that this better not happen again.” He also adds the need to make right the individuals who were wronged and hold those accountable who acted inappropriately.
While the story on the Governor’s aggressive stance on this issue was reported by the Clarion Ledger as news, there has not been one column inch of editorial content written on Bryant’s head on approach to tackling this unfortunate issue by anyone in the state’s mainstream media. As I said, we are often quick to criticize but slow to give a pat on the back. In the state’s print media, that is especially true for when a Republican does a good thing under tough circumstances.
But hey, maybe I’m misreading the bias in the media against the Governor and the Republican leadership. Maybe it’s just me who sees a slew of stories painting the state’s GOP leadership as incompetent and irresponsible. Or maybe I beat them to the punch and perhaps they are waiting for their weekend columns to throw the Governor some love… but I, for one, am not holding my breath.