It has been a long year and media in general hasn’t made it any easier, but one media outlet in particular took things too far. In August I made the decision to take action. I had an attorney send a demand letter for a retraction of a fabricated quote the editor at GCN (The Courier) attributed to me in one of his many biased articles. The retraction happened, but the damage to the City was done. He knew the statement was malicious and Gulf Coast Media knew, or should have known, that this statement was totally false, yet they published it anyway.
After receiving the letter from my attorney, a citizen forwarded me a screenshot of what the the author of the article posted on his FB page:
Attempting to destroy the reputation of a city, stirring up unnecessary drama and spinning the truth is no joking matter. And it is costing our City greatly.
A few days ago, another hit-piece article by the same person insinuated that the City may have violated state law with the use of our city barricades. If he knew the whole process started with a city councilman reaching out to one of the city employees to help out a fraternity brother whose father worked for the Roy Moore campaign, maybe he wouldn’t have started the “investigative” story. The “state law” violated was that council should not direct city employees. That is the role of the mayor and I was never contacted. In fact, I didn’t know about the details of what happened until the “reporter” started asking questions. Bottom line, barricades were used to protect citizens and all City expenses were reimbursed when the invoice was paid. The probe is simply embarrassing and a waste of time.
In addition, I received the following email yesterday questioning why I misled council and the public about the debris removal contract. As with most of his negative reporting on my administration, he takes the questions he’s been fed from his secret sources, presumes the questions are fact-based, uses sensationalized headlines, confuses the public and ultimately further divides the office of the mayor and council.
His questions are typical of his reporting – he implies I’m guilty and asks how I wish to respond and invites council to point fingers – which they do. When he finishes his articles, you will also notice there are never any “unavailable for comment” responses from detractors as his articles are intended to be a platform for, and pander to, council, disgruntled city employees and adversaries. Therefore a response from me is not important for these articles. However, I will bring the facts to the citizens as always – the same facts that were shared with council in July so they could make an informed decision.
I decided not to answer the questions and instead waited until he posted the article to see what was written, again without facts, and see how the detractors responded. I had this blog ready to post and everything came out exactly as I predicted.
Here is the article. (I will discuss why I didn’t sign the appointment for the City attorney later).
I requested the purchasing manager to rebid ALL contracts in January, which included debris removal – six months before it expired – in an effort to leave PLENTY of time to get RFP responses in and to review them. Pittman Tractor received this request and declined to rebid. The other answers are in red:
Here are the facts about the Debris Removal Contract I sent to council in July:
As you can see, council was given all the facts.
I hope the editor will begin to recognize that leaked documents and misinformation he’s being fed are coming from politicos and special interests that want to see me fail. But because I have only one agenda – to make positive changes and enhancements in our great City in a meaningful way – it has been more difficult than they expected.
It has gotten a lot easier to ignore the lies and innuendo directed at me, however, when these articles start costing the City in unnecessary legal fees, disparaging City staff and subjecting the City to unwarranted liability – all at taxpayers expense mind you – I will come back with the same tenacity that got me elected and will continue to give you the facts.
The Courier is primarily funded by legal ads. Since the Courier has relinquished its role as a legitimate primary publication of record for the City of Fairhope, I will be seeking an alternate source in which to place our legal ads. You deserve better.