Sue Schmitz’s legacy

I covered State Rep. Sue Schmitz’s fraud trial, and I was not sure I agreed with the jury’s decision to convict. The United States accused her of collecting around $40,000 a year for doing little work as public relations coordinator for the Community Intensive Training for Youth (CITY) program. While I questioned the verdict, I have no question that she killed the program for which she worked.

Two-year college Chancellor Bradley Byrne said Thursday he’s all but certain the program to help troubled youths stay out of prison will have to shut down in June.

More than 60 employees of the program were told their jobs would end May 1.

Testimony during the trial suggested the program was amazingly effective at helping youth, until Schmitz and politics intervened. Sue Schmitz may have worked harder for the program than prosecutors claimed, but by merging the program with politics, she sapped it of its strength.

What a legacy for a pro-education legislator.

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