St. Petersburg is the fourth-largest city in the nation's fourth-largest state. Being chief of staff to its mayor is an important, influential and high-profile job that comes with certain expectations of transparency. Mayor-elect Rick Kriseman may be fine with not getting the complete picture of a 12-year-old arrest of his longtime political aide. But when that aide is tapped to be the mayor's chief of staff, a higher standard applies. Kevin King should disclose records of the episode and let the chips fall where they may.
King was a 22-year-old substitute teacher in Pinellas County schools in 2001 when he faced accusations that he allegedly propositioned a 14-year-old girl to have sex as well as asked her and a 15-year-old girl to skip school and drink beer with him. Police became involved after the 14-year-old's mother saw a sexual proposition in her daughter's email. Neither girl actually went with King, but he was arrested on three counts. King says he was never convicted, but the outcome can't be independently verified because a judge sealed the file, which has since been expunged.
Kriseman first hired King in 2003 as he ran for re-election to the City Council. He said he never asked to see any files King has and that his work over the years speaks for itself. King eventually followed Kriseman to the Florida House, where the mayor-elect served from 2006-12, and has worked on other political campaigns. He is now married and has a child.
Kriseman is apparently satisfied that King's past doesn't disqualify him from serving a prominent role in his administration. But it is a prominent role whose $98,500 salary will be paid by taxpayers. Higher standards apply. King should disclose all the details or he should find another job.