Like respect, titles should be earned. I recently heard a local TV anchorman refer to Burl Cain as “Boss Burl.” If the anchorman’s reference was to the bumbling “Boss Hogg,” on the “Dukes of Hazzard,” or maybe even Buford T. Justice, in “Smokey and the Bandit,” then it appropriately applies. But if it was meant as a respected title, then I beg to differ. There is only one warden who is deserving of that title, and that distinction goes to former warden “Boss” Ross Maggio.

“Boss Ross” earns that title in many ways. He commanded respect, but he also showed respect to his employees and the inmates under his control. His word was his bond, and he didn’t sway from that word. He was dignified, honest and well-respected. He also was tough but fair to everyone. “Boss Ross” reminded me of Buford Pusser, in “Walking Tall,” only he didn’t carry a stick.

If you want to give Burl Cain a title, I suggest, as Wilbert Rideau did in his book, “dictator” or “tyrant,” or maybe even “czar,” but in 2016, we can definitely apply “ex-warden.”

Keep the title “Boss,” in the Louisiana penal system, to the one and only “Boss Ross.” He earned it!

Randy Whitstine

retired state worker