Kudos to the Standard-Times for joining WBSM in demanding transparency in the investigation into how tons of aged beams, intended for the Ernestina, went missing from the City Yard at Quittacas Pond two years ago.

While no one suspects that Mayor Jon Mitchell is responsible for the wood going missing, the mayor has been less than candid about what he knows and in fact, his administration has offered conflicting versions of events since first approached about the matter by WBSM a year ago.

The paper's Jack Spillane editorialized on Saturday that it is time for the Mitchell Administration to tell the public all that it knows about how the wood disappeared, who made it disappear and where it is today. We wholeheartedly agree.

Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation

Last week, several members of the City Council expressed the concern that there may be criminality involved in the disappearance of the timber. We don't know that to be the case at this point, but we question why Mitchell is so quick to rule it out before an investigation has even begun. The Council is asking Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey to look into the case, and we think she should.

The city's two major media outlets are now demanding answers to questions about the missing beams. Every citizen should join us in our quest for answers.

Public trust in government is important. The way to maintain public trust is through honest and open governing, or transparency. The people of New Bedford need to know that no laws were broken and that all is being done to recover property that was taken by someone who had no right to it. If laws were broken, then the people who broke them should be punished.

The Mitchell Administration needs to kick it up a notch.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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