Bob Morris is entitled to be as eccentric as he chooses in his job as mayor of Eunice.
He is not, however, privileged to play fast or loose with public records.
Through his city clerk, the mayor says he no longer keeps correspondence to or from the mayor’s office.
Whether that means he throws it away, sends it to other places within City Hall or just removes it from the premises is unknown since Morris elects not to talk to The Eunice News.
The honeymoon between the mayor and the newspaper actually lasted longer than most such relationships do.
They normally cease far sooner after an official takes office. Reasons are varied, but they are most often in the wake of a bonehead decision by the official, or the official’s failure to engage brain before tongue, and the official finding that actions and words, like bullets, are impossible to recall.
But that is beside the point and a lesson for another day.
Today the issue is the public record.Whether the mayor is talking to the newspaper has no bearing on his role as custodian of the public’s business.
Notice the term -- public’s business. It’s not the mayor’s business. It’s everyone’s who lives in his city.
Who he’s mad at this week, last week or next week has no bearing on his responsibility as custodian of the record.
Under the law, the mayor is required to keep and maintain the public record and produce it when asked, no matter who asks.
There is in fact a dose of irony to Sunshine Bob playing his shell game with the public record.
He has repeatedly pronounced his administration as an open one, where information is readily available.
And he lived up to that pronouncement until it suited him to do otherwise, or his feelings got hurt or the sun and moon failed to properly align or for whatever reason.
Now, he’s more Overcast Bob as he responds to request for public information.
The mayor perhaps is learning that defending the public’s right to know is easy as long as what they want to know is either beneficial to you or something you agree with.
It’s when the information requested, and which ultimately must be provided, may not be so agreeable that the Sunshine Act becomes too much for some officials.
Frankly, we would have thought Morris not among them.