Larry Wilder, the City Council attorney for Jeffersonville, Ind. has announced that he will resigned due to recent criticism. It was not Wilder’s skills or courtroom demeanor that proved his undoing. It was the combination of a certain trash can, a lawyer, and a camera. He resign before he was . . . well . . . canned.
One week ago, photos emerged that showed Wilder sleeping in a neighbor’s trash can. The photos show Wilder head first in a trash can laying on its side on the street with only his waist and feet showing. The photos were taken by a police officer. It is still not clear how the photos were leaked to the press. He is described as drunk but the police decided not to give him a sobriety test.
Neighbor Conrad Embry, 80, complained about trash being strewn all over their lawn and a man sleeping in their can — a type of urban version of the Goldilocks and the Three Bears story.
Wilder stated: “I’ve stood up and accepted when I’ve done great things. And I’ve stood up and said when I’ve done stupid things because men of character do those things. . . I have agreed, in my heart, that the best thing to do for this community is to offer my resignation.”
Wilder was the highest paid of the six city attorneys: In 2008, he received $107,000 in tax dollars. Not only is that four times the pay of the next highest paid attorney, but he is likely resented deeply by his brother Darren Wilder, who handles matters under the Board of Public Works & Safety. If any Wilder has a claim to trash cans as a form of casual shelter, it is Darren who can claim that he was inspecting the integrity of the city cans — the ultimate muckraking attorney.
There has been controversy over the fees for the city attorneys in the past.
In all seriousness, it is not clear that an involuntary termination would have been warranted. This was terribly embarrassing to be sure. Wilder appears to have been drunk. However, he did not harm anyone. It is not clear whether he drove in this condition (which would be a more serious matter). There is no evidence that he used his official connections for any special treatment. Given these facts, he did not have to resign and can be credited for taking the fullest possible responsibility for his actions.