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What Chris Christie’s bridge closure scandal says about government

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The often-bombastic Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie finds himself embroiled in controversy. The corruption scandal revolves around a decision of key aids, including deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly, to shutdown several lanes of the George Washing Bridge for four days in September as part of an effort to punish Democratic Fort Lee Major Mark Sokolich for not supporting Christie’s reelection campaign by snarling traffic into New York City. Turning a bad situation into a learning experience, there are couple of things that should come of this scandal.

Although Christie did a reasonable job of apologizing for the actions of his Administration, a thorough investigation, which is underway, to determine if Christie had any involvement or knowledge of this decision, as well any others, must be completed to clear the Governor of wrongdoing. There also needs to be further scrutiny of other decisions by the Christie Administration as this type of behavior is likely part of a pattern. That said, the goal of the subsequent investigation should not be political gain, but rather, rooting out cancerous corruption that harms public interests.

Meanwhile, it is also important to recognize there are far too many people in government who share the same petty, tit-for-tat mentality that those responsible for this act of corruption demonstrated. In fact, these are also too many supposed leaders who foster this mindset. Quite frankly, destructive behavior is predictable as certain people in certain environments are likely to behave in certain ways. People like Chris Christie need to do a better job of paying attention what type of behavior they are encouraging while finding ways to discouraging unacceptable behavior, especially when it comes to be people who are inclined to behave in such a way.

Furthermore, when a public servant is obsessed with pretty matters and political gamesmanship, they cannot focus on the People’s business, i.e. their actual jobs. Consequently, voters need to pay closer attention to the harmful personality faults and attitudes of elect officials, in order to discourage them from acting on such thinking. Elected officials, in turn, need to do the same when staffing their administrations while all government workers need to take on a more responsive, service-oriented mentality.



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