This year’s general election for public officials in New York City will occur on November 5. However, there has already been significant drama leading up to the party primaries in the form of two disgraced politicians jumping into the race. Eliot Spitzer, who resigned as the Governor of New York in the wake of a prostitution scandal, recently announced his candidacy for City Comptroller. Although it seems that City Comptroller may be a step down from the Governorship, the position is the third highest in the City executive branch, behind Public Advocate and Mayor.
Former House Representative Anthony Weiner is the second of the disgraced politicians running for citywide public office. He resigned from his position in the House after inadvertently tweeting a lewd photograph that he meant to privately message to a woman who was not his wife. While announcing his candidacy for Mayor, Weiner said that there was a chance that more extramarital, sexually charged conversations might surface. A few days ago, another photo of Mr. Weiner as well as conversations he allegedly had under the pseudonym “Carlos Danger” became public. He has admitted to having had six to 10 online relationships while in Congress and three after his resignation. Weiner has since said that he would remain in the race.
Many have framed Weiner’s and Spitzer’s reentry into the public arena as a “comeback story” worthy of Hollywood. But should these leaders be given the chance to lead again? While they may have excellent plans to help move New York City forward, their characters are clearly compromised. In Dick Cross’s forthcoming eBook short 60-Minute CEO he argues that one of the two most important facets of being an effective leader is character. Although Cross’s advice is tailored to the private sector, I believe that it also applies to the public arena. With Weiner or Spitzer at the helm of their respective department, their subordinates will not respect the moral fiber of the person in charge. Without that respect, a leader cannot inspire change or progress. Character is extremely important in a leader and it will be interesting to see if the people of New York feel as strongly about it as Dick Cross does in the private sector.
60-Minute CEO by Dick Cross (Bibliomotion 2013) will be available at all eBook retailers this fall.