The public perception of politicians is eroded when they act in ways that look irresponsible to the taxpayers and voters they profess to serve, even if those actions don't violate any laws. Such is the case with a trip to London taken by Rod Jetton of Marble Hill, Mo., who rose to political prominence as speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives.
Jetton, now a lobbyist in Jefferson City, appointed himself while still speaker to the Missouri State Employees Retirement System board, which oversees billions of dollars in investments that generate revenue for the millions of dollars paid out every year in retirement benefits to former state employees.
While it is unusual for a speaker to appoint himself to such a key position, it apparently isn't prohibited. But what sticks in the craw of practical Missourians is the trip to London, which is where some of the MOSERS investment firms are located. Jetton missed most MOSERS board meetings and did not report back to the board the findings of his London visit.
Some might call Jetton's tenure on the MOSERS board -- he no longer is a member -- arrogant or irresponsible. At a minimum, he owes fellow board members and the state's taxpayers an explanation of his MOSERS service -- or lack of it.