October 10, 2013
It was the right thing to do.
On Wednesday both Mingo County Prosecuting Attorney C. Michael Sparks and Mingo County Magistrate Dallas Toler resigned their positions.
For months there has been speculation amid the swirling corruption controversy involving “Team Mingo” and its esteemed ring leader former Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury that more officials would go down. Expectations went as far to suggest that the entire courthouse would be removed in lieu of a new slate of public officials.
Wednesday’s event would suggest those expectations were on the mark.
In a statement he gave exclusively to the Williamson Daily News, Toler said of his decision to resign, “he felt it was in the best interest of himself, his family and the citizens of the county.”
Sparks was rather straightforward in his statement: “I made a mistake in judgment and now accept the consequences. My attempt to prevent potential injury to the reputation and drug enforcement efforts of the late Sheriff Eugene Crum was unjustifiable. The end should never justify the means in criminal justice.”
Admitting that he made a mistake is a big deal for Sparks.
While Toler’s resignation comes a little under the radar — he’s been relatively quiet during the recent months — it was Sparks’ decision that goes a bit against the grain. He’s been fighting tooth and nail against charges, claiming the former judge was “out to get” him. He even had a court date scheduled for next week to argue his case.
At some point, maybe not now, maybe not tomorrow and maybe not a month from now, but at some point, the whole truth will come out and we’ll truly understand how deep it all goes. Right now, we simply know that two elected officials embroiled in months of controversy have stepped down and it was the right thing to do.
But it wasn’t just the right thing to do for the community they serve, it was the right thing to do for their families. When a person steps from the private realm and into the public stage, they’re not the only ones who make that move. Their wives, relatives and children do as well.
As the saying goes: “Live to fight another day”, apropos for both Sparks and Toler. While their political careers are as toasty as a July afternoon in the Arizona desert, they’ll still have their families and the respect of those in our community who appreciate their decision as further steps forward in the race to end our county’s corruption.