Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Mayor Duson's Silence

Last week it was reported that Shalom Odokara, the then Vice President of the Portland Planning Board was facing federal charges for lying to her probation officer. She was on probation for embezzlement of $108,000 from the World Bank. Apparently no one in the City was aware of this criminal history - except Mayor Duson was told last month. Mayor Duson did not reveal this information, nor did she ask Ms. Odokara to resign.

Claiming this was a "personal matter," Mayor Duson did not feel she had to do anything about the situation. Considering, at the very least, that Ms. Odokara could face a year in jail, this was something that needed to be dealt with.

Mayor Duson could have handled this situation several different ways, but just keeping it to herself should not have been an option. She should have had Ms. Odokara resign before her court hearing, and could have stood by her then. It is also curious that when the story first came out last week, Mayor Duson apparently had no comment. Instead of standing up for her friend and proving some leadership, she just kept silent.
"I'm not someone who ducks and runs when a friend's in trouble," Duson said in an interview Monday. She said she decided not to tell other city officials about Odokara's record because she believed it was a personal matter. - Portland Press Herald