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Latarski: Too good for testing?
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Well, at least this one is not something you can call a cheating scandal.


John Oxendine apparently read the fine print and decided he could award himself insurance agent and adjuster licenses right before he left office as insurance commissioner. Normally, that is for all the working folks who seek these licenses, you have to pass a test to demonstrate you have the knowledge to pursue such occupations. The danger of taking a test is that you might fail. Oxendine avoided this potential embarrassing disaster by not taking the test.

Had that worked for me I'd be building rocketships right now. Okay, they would not be very good rocketships but I'd still have a title as rocketship builder because I didn't fail the test.

Oxendine gave some kind of silly excuse that his presence during the testing session would be a distraction to others in the room. And he added he did not need to take the test because his years of experience writing insurance laws made him more than qualified.

As far as being a distraction, all Oxendine had to do was sit down and shut up. Admittedly this may have been a burden he was unable to bear.

And as for not needing the test, one can only wonder at how many people have studied and prepared for such licensing test and then failed them. Knowing the material in question and successfully passing a test on the material is often a skill in itself, and one which demands time and work.

I do not wish to compare apples to oranges but each year we have some very bright folks who finish law school, often high in their class, and fail the bar exam. They do not have the right, or option, of saying, "I finished law school without any problems so that should qualify me to be a lawyer." The same hold through for many other occupations.

Certification through a testing process, whether the test is difficult or so simple you can pass by not falling out of the chair, is supposed to count for something. The idea is you have a piece of paper which indicates you have knowledge of the subject in question and demonstrated that knowledge through a testing process.

It may very well be because of his experience Oxendine could have blown through the testing process with flying colors. This is something we will never know, but more importantly, it is not the point.

Oxendine decided to conduct himself in a manner that is far too common among our elected officials. He took advantage of his position simply because he could. He did not want to be in the same room with the commoners being tested. He was above that and, good heavens, what if he failed.

So he decided the rules did not apply and then justified his reasons with some silly excuses about distractions and experience.

In some respects it speaks to what kind of person Oxendine is: another patch of faded cotton cut from the same tired good ol' boy blanket of cloth that has run this state for years and left a rancid smell wherever the blanket was left wadded up on the ground.

Yes, Mr. Oxendine, you were within rules and had the right to do what you did. Shame on you for deciding to not do better.

Ric Latarski is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics and can be reached at