Jan 2, 2009

12/31/08 Letter to Editor Re Misleading

I don't for a moment think it was some conscious effort to create a ruckus where there wasn't, but anybody reading the "Narrowly Passes" headline and browsing the story would have to come to the conclusion that there were two diametrically opposed sides in the discussions. In reality, there was plenty of noise, but no disagreement on anything material. There will no doubt be opportunities to report on actual disagreement going forward. The Ledger deserved this poke.

Ledger Article was Misleading

Consciously or un, December 24th's “Town Budget Narrowly Passes” article was misleading, in that it left out any facts that would not support its narrow narrative. The headline and text seem to suggest that there is one faction fighting against rising costs while another treats these with indifference. For example, the article credits Mr. Delucia with a comment about moving to centralized purchasing, but if you check the minutes, you will find the first comment about this to have been made by Mr. Brancati. I am quoted once in the article, saying that I did “not want to hack away and risk hurting town programs”. Left out was the fact that I said we should continue to work on operation costs going forward into the new year, but that cutting more at this time without any additional facts would not be wise. Also left out, any reference to the substantial savings achieved by restructurings to our benefit packages initiated by the supervisor.

Both Mr Brancati and myself offered to continue with the line-item review if our colleagues wanted to do so, but our colleagues did not take us up on this. Lets face it, the two nay votes by my colleagues were political freebies – up or down, the budget would be unchanged. Voting no allowed them to lay claim to the populist fiscal position without any real downside. I do not begrudge them a bit of political posturing, but the Ledger should not be abetting this. Consciously or un.

and in response, this "Editor's note:

Although the article did not specifically mention Mr. Welsh when talking about reducing operation costs next year, it say that all of the board members agreed to review the town's organization next year to save money.

Noted, but this reference to "all the board members" does not alter the overall message in any significant way.