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What you need to know for 08/22/2017

Would truth have hurt Mootooveren? No

Would truth have hurt Mootooveren? No

He could have equivocated, as politicians often do

For most people, getting laid off or fired is an emotionally traumatic experience — one that can be so unexpected as to cause temporary shock and/or denial.

We don’t know the circumstances behind City Councilman-elect John Mootooveren losing his bookkeeping job with Turner Construction sometime during his council campaign, and we’re sympathetic — to a point — with his reluctance to go public with it. But lying about it was a mistake, and as Gazette columnist Sara Foss pointed out yesterday, no way to start a political career.

True, a seat on the Schenectady City Council is just a part-time gig, as Councilman Carl Erikson suggested in defending Mootooveren’s decision not to “call [the Gazette] and say ‘stop the presses’” when he and Turner parted ways. But there’s a difference between offering embarrassing information unsolicited and lying about it when asked directly — which is what Mootooveren did when asked where he worked.

He probably could have artfully dodged the question — as savvy politicians regularly do — without breaking any confidentiality agreements or embarrassing himself, and he certainly had ample time to ready an explanation. Instead, he stuck to a story that used to be true but was no longer — that he worked as an accountant for a large company — when he really was working as a part-time manager of a small West Indian produce wholesaler.

It’s a relatively small lie in the scheme of things, one that doesn’t warrant his stepping down (which at least one vanquished Republican called for). But it’s a lie nonetheless, one that is going to leave doubts among his constituents and force him to work extra hard to restore his credibility.

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