Sometimes the most ignorant people say the most intelligent things.

Before my time at The Examiner, I was employed by a publisher who thought his brain was the sole repository of the sum of human knowledge. This meant that unlike the rest of us mortals, he lacked the ability to make mistakes or be flat-out wrong. This publisher would make decisions, often in the face of contradicting facts and irrefutable evidence, that baffled the mind and that would usually lead to complete failure.

As an employee, all one could do is watch as the resulting consistent cycle of carnage blossomed before your eyes. That’s what made a comment the publisher made once about personal mistakes that much more profound. The quote was short and easily digestible: “Sometimes we all fall short.”

Independence City Manager Robert Heacock fell short when he picked up his DWI in January. Despite the mistake, the City Council showed grace by standing by its solid chief administrator. You should be proud they did.

This column is a little late coming, but there’s a practical purpose. In today’s rapid, uninformed, judge-and-jury society, we often jump to conclusions for no other reason than our ability to do so. When you’re dealing with such a sensitive personal issue in a public light, sometimes it is just best to lie under the stars and survey the landscape first. Heacock deserved the right as a human being to matriculate through the process personally and professionally without dodging a rush to judgment from community know-it-alls like yours truly.

Now, the process professionally seems resolved after the City Council levied a 10-day suspension that will cost Heacock about $7,800. Personally, Heacock is getting treatment for his alcohol-related issues. This all seems about right.

There are probably some of us who feel Heacock deserved to lose his job or at least receive a more harsh punishment by city leaders. Honestly, his fault could have resulted in the death of another area citizen – a serious possibility. Luckily, it didn’t. Still, Heacock will continue to pay this penalty via a damaged reputation for much longer than 10 days. That’s far worse than losing a few dollars or sitting at home from work.

That’s where the old, overly self-confident publisher’s words apply. Heacock made a terrible error in judgment. However, he doesn’t deserve to have his life ruined or his professional accomplishments ignored. Heacock has performed admirably in his post, serving the City Council and the citizens of Independence well. As one motors around the Queen City and notes mostly clean streets, quality parks and efficient services, they’d be remiss not to offer some praise to Heacock and his leadership team.

One bit of glory does not make a reputation. One mistake does not destroy one’s character. Robert Heacock is handling his business personally and professionally. The city should be commended by giving him a chance to get his life back on track.