Being an elected official can be stressful. However, those who serve the public need to remember they are expected to set an example for others.
Letting a seemingly petty argument turn into an altercation that could prompt a restraining order is hardly what people want to see among leaders on local government councils and boards.
Town of Johnstown Councilman Walter Lane was charged Aug. 12 with second-degree harassment after being accused of grabbing and slapping the arm of town Supervisor Nancy MacVean during a meeting Aug. 9 at Town Hall.
MacVean said that during that meeting, Lane was being difficult and she told him to be quiet. She said Lane was upset and slapped her arm, grabbed it and twisted it. That led to her filing charges against him the day after the meeting.
She also accused Lane of trying to control the meetings, saying "he's been vicious to me for the past year."
While MacVean and Lane did not spar at the board's most recent meeting Thursday, the supervisor did opine that three board members are against her, going so far as to call them disloyal.
Councilman Daryl Baldwin - one of the trio, whom MacVean called "Councilman?Whizzy" because of Baldwin's work as Whizzy the Clown - commented, "After last night's meeting, it looks like I'm not the only clown on the board. At least I?get paid for it."
We understand politicians may not get along for any number of reasons, such as different political parties, opposing views and clashing personalities.
However, we remind them it's important not to let matters degenerate into a situation like the one we're seeing in the town of Johnstown.
The residents of the town of Johnstown want their elected leaders taking care of the issues that affect the town, not fighting with each other like squabbling children.
At a time when many politicians have given great lip service to consolidation, we have to wonder who wants to work with the town when a fight may break out during a meeting?
It would help matters if MacVean would avoid accusing her fellow council members of being disloyal and plotting to have her thrown out of office. By the same token, board members should show MacVean the respect someone in her position deserves.
Our elected officials should mind their manners and act like reasonable adults. Their constituents are watching.