Ethics training is valuable, necessary

West Virginia Ethics Commission personnel conduct training sessions for public officials periodically. Special sessions on ethics laws in general and on the Open Meetings Act were are being held this month.

One reaction to such educational programs may be that common sense would tell most public officials the difference between right and wrong, legal and unlawful. In many cases, that certainly is true.

But the overwhelming majority of local government officials in our state are amateurs. Many have never held public office before, and they have questions about gray areas in the law. For example, if a school board president calls board members to ask how they feel about an issue, is that an illegal meeting? Sometimes, it could be.

The Ethics Commission’s training sessions are invaluable, then. Anyone in local government ought to make use of them. Doing so is good insurance.