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Gaffe should be a red flag

July 16, 2019 05:42 pm Updated: July 17, 2019 07:28 am

Some of the axioms we learned about as children and later as adults turn out to be true. “Always read the fine print” is one to keep in mind.

In a refreshing act of accountability during the flap over the new jail, Greene County Administrator Shaun Groden confirmed Monday that he approved the auction at the former sheriff’s office last month, a sale he previously referred to as unauthorized.

Groden’s explanation is noteworthy.

“I actually authorized it in an email I must have read at 80 miles an hour,” Groden said Monday. “In parentheses there was wooden windows and doors that I must not have caught.”

Where the email originated is significant, too. The email was sent to Groden from the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.

“I responded and told them to proceed,” he said. “I told the (Legislature) I take full responsibility for it.”

Groden’s response offers some food for thought on the extraordinary number of moving parts in the new Greene County Jail project and how close oversight will be critical to the way this project unfolds.

In particular, Groden’s gaffe bolsters a case for a fine-tooth-comb review of all documents, both directly related to the project and ancillary documents having to do with the old jail, the old sheriff’s office and their contents. And we didn’t even mention the documents about construction expenses.

Groden and Greene County lawmakers should be considering tighter scrutiny of documents that will affect the new jail, sheriff’s office and former jail. Taxpayer money is at stake, after all. Groden’s explanation of what went wrong with the auction should be the start of a more sensible approach to the jail project.