We would caution anyone in Damascus from assigning too much importance to the allegations against Cindy Spinnett, wife of Damascus Mayor Steve Spinnett.

For those who don’t know, The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office has opened a file after receiving a report that Cindy Spinnett was in Damascus City Hall and took photographs of sensitive documents relating to a code enforcement. Those documents contained Social Security numbers and are not open to public viewing.

Spinnett denies taking the photos. But if she did, the Sheriff’s Office is going to produce evidence to support such a claim. If she didn’t, there won’t be any such evidence. And Damascus will cross that bridge if — or when — it comes to it.

But regardless of whether the photos were taken or not, it’s a bit alarming to know that city employees are leaving such documents lying around. If these documents are so sensitive, perhaps better care could be taken to shield them from public view, especially at a customer-service counter where members of the general public are likely to visit.

The Outlook finds it regrettable that this scenario has become caught up in the general disrespect that all too often defines Damascus city government.

This is an issue that never would have appeared as a topic of discussion at the Damascus City Council work session or council meeting had the suspect been Average Joe or Average Jill. The only reason it became a topic was because the allegation involved the mayor’s wife.

The only reason the council should have spoken about this was to question its own policies regarding the protection of sensitive documents.

Those who are reading this editorial should not confuse this as a defense of Mayor Spinnett, whose own theatrical response only served to widen the chasm that divides Damascus leadership.

We have come to understand that real divisions exist in how Damascus operates as a city. Sadly, the civil debate has long since eroded into personal attacks. Until parties on both sides commit to finding real solutions and compromise, very little progress — if any — will ever be made in Damascus.

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