Once again, the inappropriate actions of Mayor Ken Murphy have raised concerns among residents about the example he is setting for our community. His arrest for disorderly conduct and threatening and intimidating related to domestic violence is not something the community can easily excuse, especially on the heels of a similar incident just three months ago at a bar, and a charge of disorderly conduct toward his ex-wife in August 2000.
It’s clear there is a pattern in Mayor Murphy’s behavior that indicates he has a serious problem that needs to be addressed.
During the town council meeting Thursday night, several residents quoted scriptures of forgiveness and reminded us that we all have challenges in our lives.
This is absolutely true. But I believe we can expect responsible and respectful behavior from our highest public official without being labeled unchristian. We can be compassionate and forgiving while still asking for change, especially when our entire community is affected by the mayor’s negative behavior.
In an earlier editorial, I expressed my belief that Murphy truly loves his community and wants to do the right thing. But the pattern he exhibits likens him to the man who says he truly loves his wife, but still mistreats her. No one can completely overcome an obstacle such as this until they admit there is a problem and take responsibility for it. Too often, people with abuse tendencies or problems with alcohol blame everyone else when they are asked to be accountable the police, their spouse, relatives and others.
I still believe Ken Murphy can be an effective leader and is a man capable of much good. In a statement he read Thursday, it appears he may be starting to take responsibility for his private actions made public by his position. If that is the case, Payson residents may wish him luck and support him in his private life. I do. But regaining the community’s confidence in his public life will be difficult.
Like a family confronted with abuse, it’s not a matter of forgiveness, it’s a matter of doing what’s best for the future of the family.