By Jon Keller, WBZ Political Analyst

BOSTON (CBS) — Accountability is a big part of what life is all about. At a very young age, we start being held accountable for our behavior.

Unless our parents are the type who don’t believe in boundaries or standards, we get time-outs if we act up at home. Act out in school, and detention hall awaits.
Don’t do your homework, and you risk a failing grade – at least, until you get to Harvard.

Listen to Jon’s commentary

And in the adult world, for the most part, we are held closely accountable for our failures. Miss enough work or mess it up badly enough, and you’re out. Rack up a criminal record, and chances are you won’t get the job you want in the first place. That is, unless you work in certain corners of the public sector, where the very concept of accountability is often actively – and successfully – resisted.

The latest appalling example of this was dug up by my colleague Joe Shortsleeve, who reported last night that the MBTA had fired the driver of the Green Line trolley that derailed this week outside Kenmore four years ago for failing to report an accident.

But lo and behold, the Carmen’s Union filed a grievance over the dismissal, and an accommodating arbitrator sided with them, so back on the job he went, ready to allegedly jeopardize more lives.

This guy never should have been hired back in 2008, considering a driving record with 20 moving violations, including seven speeding raps, but incredibly, the state’s only been allowed to do background checks on its drivers since 2009.

This sad story reminds me of the time I asked the head of the Mass. Teacher’s Association if he had ever declined to grieve a teacher firing, which he had not.

Accountability is a necessity of a functioning society. Too bad some of us see unaccountability as a negotiable perk.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.



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