- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 7, 2002

Nobles: Prince George County Sheriff's Deputies Elizabeth L. Magruder and James V. Arnaud, both of whom were laid to rest this week after being killed while in the line of duty.

There aren't many jobs in which each shift, one faces the possibility of getting punched, or knifed, or shot. Yet, each time law-enforcement officers put on their uniforms, they put their life on the line uncertain whether they will make it home, or in what condition.

They hope each call will be routine, knowing that any moment could turn deadly. Tragically, that was the case last week for both Pfc. Magruder, a 30-year-old rookie, and Sgt. Arnaud, a 53-year-old veteran. They were gunned down while trying to serve a warrant on James Logan for a psychiatric evaluation.

Pfc. Magruder, who was posthumously promoted from private, had been a deputy for only three months. She was a top recruit from her class at the Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy, where she achieved the highest academic score, according to Calvert County Sheriff John Bartlett. She left behind a husband, a 3-year-old son, and neighbors whom she always used to smile at and wave to.

Sgt. Arnaud was posthumously promoted to sergeant, which was appropriate since he had borne the nickname “Sarge” for years both for his military-style crew cut and for his military service, which included two decades in the Army and two tours of duty in Vietnam. He was as dedicated to his oath to serve and protect on his last day as he was on his first. When he was killed, he was on his second shift of the day.

As we pause to remember the noble individuals who perished September 11, it's important that we not forget the officers who are still out there, who put their lives on the line every day, every shift, every hour.

Knaves: Norman O. Taylor, chief executive of the United Way of the National Capital Area.

What did Mr. Taylor know, and when did he know it? It's a cliched question, but one that is sadly appropriate, considering the sorry state of the chapter's financial practices and the even sorrier state of Mr. Taylor's credibility in the matter.

In fact, the other Watergate dictum, “follow the money,” seems more apt, since the Washington chapter appears to have withheld more than $1 million in donations, deducted up to 50 percent of some donations for overhead costs, and paid out $6,000 each month in consulting money to Mr. Taylor's predecessor, Oral Suer.

Mr. Taylor has denied knowledge of any of those abuses. But Kenneth Unzicker, the director of corporate fund-raising campaigns for the organization sat in on more than six meetings between Mr. Suer and Mr. Taylor, during which he received the distinct impression that Mr. Taylor's succession was predicated, at least in part, on the approval of Mr. Suer's sweet consulting contract.

Moreover, Mr. Unzicker outlined his “grievous concerns about existing policies, practices and conditions” in a recent memorandum to an ethics panel. He probably had to put those concerns on paper, since his attempts to talk to Mr. Taylor about those concerns were allegedly either rebuffed or ignored.

At least he hasn't been fired at least not yet. That was the fate of Tony DeCristofaro, the group's marketing director and spokesman, who was terminated a week ago, shortly after journalists began inquiring about a memo he wrote last May calling for an accurate accounting of the organization's accounts. Four other individuals in high positions also have been canned for asking similarly important er, impertinent questions.

Mr. Taylor may have reasonable explanations for all of this. However, the evidence suggests he led the D.C. United Way in a capitally knavish direction.

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