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THURSDAY, JUNE 16, 2005
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EDITORIAL

Loyal public employees deserve credit for trial

One of the jurors who convicted McWane Inc. officials of discharging polluted wastewater into a Birmingham creek lauded unlikely heroes Monday.

They are unlikely because we are increasingly, and sometimes unfairly, skeptical of our public servants. They are heroes because they did their job.

The juror, Cassandra Mc-Nabb, cited two engineers with the state Department of Environmental Management and an inspector with the Jefferson County Stormwater Management Authority for their determined efforts to track deadly pollutants to their source.

"I never even knew that these people were out there on a daily basis looking out for all of the citizens of this state," Ms. Mc-Nabb said.

Her praise counters cynicism that grips many Alabama taxpayers. We too quickly assume that those we employ have no goal beyond their next paycheck, no function beyond tax drain.

It is a cynicism that blinds us to the many public employees whose efforts go beyond their job descriptions. The three employees Ms. McNabb praised could have continued cashing their paychecks without pointing to McWane's crimes.

Their response to the difficult challenge demonstrated a loyalty to the state and its citizens that we too quickly dismiss.

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