Independence Mayor Don Reimal has been right so far in taking a cautious tone of support for City Manager Robert Heacock.

The city manager says he’ll take time off to deal with what he says is an alcohol problem. This came to light after he was arrested early Tuesday morning and charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated during an incident outside a Lee’s Summit bar.

Heacock has said he’s sorry for the grief his actions have brought on the city and on those around him. That’s appropriate too. The main thing now is to focus on what’s best for him and his family. Treatment is a step.

It’s easy to rush to judgment in these situations, but that’s not right. This is a serious offense, but not one for which most employees – public sector or private sector, high profile or below the radar – would be let go after one incident. Mostly, this is a matter of trust – trust between Heacock and his seven elected bosses on the City Council and then the council’s judgment of the level of trust between City Hall and the citizens.

Heacock has been a good, progressive, relatively open city manager. He’s gotten a whole lot more right than he’s gotten wrong, and he’s still got some good ideas the city should explore. The council needs to consider all of that in addition to looking at how his actions this week reflect on the city.