It may seem quaint to some to believe that public service is just that: Service one renders for the common good, with no expectation of reward or riches; only the satisfying approbation of one’s friends and neighbors for keeping steadfast their trust.
In the earliest days of our republic, that is how most individuals came to hold public office. They had lands and families and responsibilities, but their neighbors appealed to their sense of civic duty and they went – reluctantly, but willingly – to serve those people in the halls of power. When they had done their best, they gratefully returned home to take up the life they had left behind, now leavened with the gratitude of those they lived among.
It is this inspiring model we contemplate each election cycle, hoping that the best and brightest among us will rise to the call of public office, and justify our faith in their efforts in our behalf. Sadly, we are too frequently disappointed. Then there are those who not only disappoint us, they leave us speechless with their ineptitude and unabashed esurience. They are who we mean when we use “politician” as a pejorative, and we anxiously await our deliverance from their pernicious tenure. The worst of these misuse one position and then strive for another, higher position for which they are even more unqualified. And it is this latter class against which we feel compelled to speak out, lest we be further afflicted with their maladroit inadequacy. Which brings us to Hagen Brody.
Some might forgive that Hagen Brody lost his earlier position as an assistant state attorney because he failed to comply with the terms of his license to practice law, and it was suspended by the Florida Bar. Still others might excuse his utter dependence on his salary as a City Commissioner for subsistence, or his desire to attain an even more lucrative position on the County Commission, thereby more than tripling his current meager income. But no one should excuse his intemperate behavior in his current post, his splenetic outbursts with his colleagues and employees, or his documented abuse of the women with whom he works. No one should have to contend with such outrageous behavior.
Mr. Brody has been the enfant terrible of the City of Sarasota for five long years, and an embarrassment to every competent and conscientious employee or office holder in city government. He does not deserve to continue to hold his office. He certainly does not deserve the higher office of County Commissioner. Quite bluntly, he does not deserve to be in public office at all.
Maya Angelou once sagely observed, “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” It is time the voters of Sarasota County heeded her advice and believed just how detrimental any further representation of our interests by Hagen Brody would be. It is time to send Mr. Brody into retirement from public life. Ending his abortive foray into politics is an essential first step in preserving the nobility of public service in our county.