The hoopla surrounding Keene Supervisor Bill Ferebee pumping gas from the town highway department facility into his personal vehicle still lingers throughout that community. It is an example of a bad move by a local politician and the incident should not simply go away.
Shame on Mr. Ferebee for taking advantage of his supervisory power by pumping gas in the first place. If Joe Citizen had run out of gas, not only would they have paid the market price instead of a discounted $2.98 a
gallon, but they would have had to walk the distance to the gas station, go through the hassle of finding a
container suitable for holding gas and then walk back to their vehicle. Of course, knowing the hospitality of
area residents, an individual in need would have
probably found a ride and assistance.
Mr. Ferebee certainly overstepped his authority, but he did not steal - he later paid for the 14 or so gallons the following morning. He was also exonerated by the Keene Town Board - but not in the court of public opinion. And that court is still in session.
It is human nature to wonder if Ferebee has been
visiting the highway department gas pump on a regular basis, but in this land, a person is still innocent until proven guilty. There is no evidence to warrant the claim of previous visits and residents have to take Mr. Ferebee at his word that this was a one-time incident - regardless of all the scuttlebutt in Keene.
But, as a public official, Mr. Ferebee still needs to address the court of public opinion. What he should do is make amends by publicly making a donation to a local charity - making it more than the amount he saved in gas - and make a public apology for his transgression. The next meeting of the Keene Town Board would be a perfect venue for such an action - and concerned residents should attend that meeting to push the issue.
No, it is not a huge deal, but one that warrants more action than letting it pass and having Keene residents upset with the thought that Mr. Ferebee believes he is higher than the law.
Not only is there no free-be or discount gas in Keene, but there is a price to pay to restore the public trust that has been violated.