Deter Corruption By Public Officials

It has gotten so that it is difficult to keep track of all the players in East Ohio local government corruption without a scorecard. There have been numerous cases during the past several years.

Now, former Bridgeport Mayor David Smith has pleaded guilty to charges related to his theft of more than $20,000 from the village. While in charge of Mayor’s Court, Smith took cash paid for traffic offense fines — then removed corresponding written citations in an attempt to avoid being caught.

Smith, 49, stepped down as mayor in February. He entered his pleas Wednesday in Belmont County Common Pleas Judge John Vavra’s courtroom. Sentencing is set for Aug. 10.

Vavra is best equipped by experience, judgment and information to decide on a sentence, of course. But Smith’s offense was the serious one of abusing the public’s trust. In order to deter others tempted to engage in public corruption, we encourage Vavra to order the stiffest sentence commensurate with the facts of the case and Smith’s situation.


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