One bad apple sent to prison

If there is an end to the long, sordid story of corruption among public officials in West Virginia, it certainly is not in sight.

Another chapter was added when a federal judge sentenced Clifford Keith Gwinn, 64, to 37 months in prison. He is going to spend time behind bars for embezzling $178,790 from the Teays Valley Volunteer Fire Department, near Charleston.

Gwinn took the money between 2013-16, while he was in a position to control the fire department’s finances.

Earlier this year, Gwinn’s wife, Kathy, received a much lighter sentence for what authorities said was a separate embezzlement scheme that netted her more than $75,000, also from the Teays Valley fire department.

Gwinn’s position at the fire department was not the highest-level post he ever attained. From 2011-13, he was state cabinet secretary for the Department of Veterans Assistance. There have been no accusations he profited personally from that position.

How did Gwinn and his wife get away with taking that much money from the fire department before being caught? That is one bothersome question. The other is how many other people in public positions are rotten to the core — and have not been caught yet.