I was surprised and delighted when Melanie Ford defeated the previous long standing St. Louis County Attorney Alan Mitchell. My sense was that he was the power behind the scenes and I didn’t like a rumor I once heard circulating about him. I certainly didn’t like the shabby treatment Ford received at the hands of County Board after unseating Mitchell. This seemed to confirm an unhealthy influence on the Board by Mitchell.
I’ve no particular interest in the race. Ford never came to the aid of Let Duluth Vote but I would have been surprised if any County Attorney had. Her challenger Mark (I think) Rubin has the support of the old staff which once again smacks of good ole boy politics. He also grins a lot while Ford looks the cold fish.
I was tugged in her direction today with this short passage from a Trib story on the race:
“Shortly after I was elected, he told me that he was supposed to be the successor to Alan Mitchell,” Ford said of Mark Rubin, a veteran of the office who has worked there 32 of his 56 years. “I said, ‘Mark, you’ve got to run for the job.’ And here we are.”
Rubin denied having such a conversation with his boss.
“Integrity means speaking the truth; none of that is true,” he said, also disputing a contention by Ford that he has been running for the office for four years. He says he publicly announced his intention to run in April 2009 and made it formal a year later.
What Ford says has the ring of truth. Lots of similar offices have a guy on staff ready to take the place of the leader upon his retirement. My Father was one example. As a young staff attorney in the Kansas State Insurance Commission he thought about replacing his boss the Commissioner at some future date.
This is now a his word vs. her word issue. While some might have found fault with Rubin for saying this it could just as easily have been a mark of Mr. Rubin’s honesty. He does not claim that Ms. Ford ever did anything to make his work difficult. I think thats a mark of a good leader. Perhaps Ms. Ford has chosen to withhold some critical detail. Clearly Rubin is running and I’ll bet this is no surprise for anyone who works with him. What he has done, however, is to say that his boss told a lie about him. That is a very serious charge especially because what she said is so believable.
I’ve called people liars in this blog. Its an outlandish charge but one I’m fully prepared to back up. I would have believed Rubin had he put some credible spin on his conversation and I can think of many justifications for his alledged comment not the least of which is candor. Instead, his flat out denial leaves me to choose between the adversaries in this race something I can not do without guessing. Her charge against him is that he was ambitious, candid and unhappy to find his long range plans upset. His charge is that his boss is a liar. Melanie Ford is clearly right that he was ambitious. Rubin is clearly right that a lie has been told its just not certain by whom. In a court of law there is something called the burden of proof. Its a burden Mark Rubin can not carry.