Leonard Battaglia's colleagues on the West County Wasterwater District board were right to ask him to resign his seat on the board for the racially bigoted remarks he made in an October interview with this newspaper.
Fellow board members also were right not to try to remove Battaglia from his position on the board. They do not have the authority to remove a board member who was elected by the people.
The Rodeo-Hercules fire board went down that road four years ago after board member Bill Prather made a foolish remark about women firefighters.
He apologized but his colleagues tried to bar him from meetings and throw him out of office. Prather successfully sued them and the board officially apologized to him in 2011.
Short of a felony conviction, only the people or Battaglia himself have the right to remove him from office. We are disappointed that Battaglia did not avail himself of that option. He should have done so last week.
His remarks have seriously compromised his effectiveness on the board. We also do not think it was hyperbole when fellow Director Michael Caine said that Battaglia " ... has brought shame on this district that is almost impossible to mend."
After the 4-0 vote of his colleague asking for his resignation the 85-year-old Battaglia said he wanted to "forge a path forward" and that he was living with "my sorrow" over the incident.
Unfortunately, the hubbub about Battaglia's remarks have overshadowed the impact of the article in which those remarks appeared.
That is too bad because it is an excellent piece of work done by Bay Area News Group investigative reporter Thomas Peele and database researcher Danny Willis that shows the extraordinary rate of compensation received by people sitting part-time on tiny government boards and commissions such as the West Contra Costa Wastewater District.
Battaglia is the poster child for reforming the process. The article revealed that he had been paid more than $50,000 in 2012 for attending 85 hours of meetings. That penciled out to a compensation rate of $592 an hour.
Peele and Willis demonstrated that he was far from alone. They also detailed many similar examples, some on the same board as Battaglia.
They also revealed many cases where expensive health benefits were part of the compensation package.
Even buying the far-fetched argument that members of such boards and commissions spend untold hours studying the meeting material, the compensation rates remain far out of kilter.
Battaglia should do his board a favor and resign his seat and they should return the favor by reducing the compensation package given to the board's directors.