NEWS BLOG (WSAU) Wausau Alderman Tom Miller was in court yesterday. Moments before his trial was to begin on a felony charge of fleeing a police officer, he reached a plea agreement with prosecutors.
If he went to trial and lost Miller would have been automatically removed from office, would have lost his right to vote in Wisconsin, and could have been sentenced to three years in prison. And he would have lost. The prosecution has patrol car video of Miller not pulling over on the morning of October 6th, driving for nearly a half-mile to reach his driveway with a police cruiser with lights and sirens on behind him. His only earlier statement, that he didn't know the officer was trying to pull him over, is ludicrous on its face. Repeating it at his plea hearing would have been insulting to the Court.
And now, Tom Miller should resign.
He has already announced that he's not running for another term. But staying in office is a charade. Should he get the same 'thank you' and farewell send off that other retiring members of the City Council receive? Of course not. They have served honorably. He came within a whisker of being a felon.
Some will argue that a resignation would leave people in Miller's district without a voice in city government. That is true. It is also flawed logic. People in Miller's district should not be forced to trust someone who's judgement was on display on that October morning. He could have killed one of his constituents as he drove through his neighborhood with a police car tailing him. And what of respect for law enforcement?
Sadly, many people drink and drive in Wisconsin. And yes, some of those people are public officials. But even most drunk drivers stop for police. Miller didn't. And we are left with the disgrace of having a city leader who's held to a lower standard than the rest of us.
Operations Manager-Midwest Communications, Wausau