"My Town and Yours" Thoughts and Observations of Mark Lange
He Doesn't Owe Us...
by Mark Lange,posted Oct 16 2013 6:15AM
Some folks are asking Mayor Joe Yochum to explain why he replaced the full time employees at the Animal Shelter with new ones. The mayor has respectfully declined to make a full explanation - you know give us any dirty details if there are any that some think we deserve. It is a public entity. He is a public official. The Animal Control employees are paid with our tax dollars. And the success of the shelter is a reflection on our entire community. But a full explanation? Not required - nor should it be required.
The Mayor was elected to manage the city and that's what he was doing when those folks were replaced. He was doing what he was elected to do. The only recourse is vote Joe out of office if he runs again. I'm not suggesting that, just listing that as the only option for just regular folks to take.
Every job at every level has its difficult parts and local governmental management jobs may be more difficult in some respects. Just about everything the mayor does is local news. We'll cover it and so will some others. Some activities require full public disclosure, but an explanation about personnel issues isn't one of them.
The Mayor is a paid employee of the public that he serves. We are in fact his employer. If you as a reporter was ask by the one who signs your pay check for an explanation as to why you made a decision in reporting a story the way you did; you probably owe him a very good answer.
As for your one sided view that sounds as if your are attempting to suck up to local officials or, with tongue in cheek, encourage voters to oust the man. I feel when you call yourself a journalist or reporter, you make certain promises to your audience. Reporters make these promises to protect the credibility of their work and earn the public's trust and the trust of the organization who gives them milk money.
Unfortunately, there are news organizations that have chosen to erode these standards in their newsrooms, particularly in recent years.
There are only 6 things we the audience ask that you do when you report on a news item:
(1.)Seek truth and the public good.
(3.)Report with fairness and accuracy.
(4.)Defend the public's right to know.
(5.)Use respect human dignity.
(6.)Discover and teach.
In this article you have not attempted to seek truth for the public good, expose potential injustice, and/or defend the public's right to know but made excuses as to why you should not do your job.