Monday, November 07, 2005

Giving New Meaning to Deputy Press Agent

Maybe it's just me, but somehow I don't think that this is the type of activity that you want to be involved in right now. From the Southern Illinoisan:
SPRINGFIELD - State parole agents have been told to distribute letters promoting Gov. Rod Blagojevich's record on fighting crime - a move critics say borders on asking state workers to campaign for the governor during work hours.

An internal memo detailing the request indicates that employees at some state parole offices are supposed to hand out at least five letters per week to groups, individuals and churches.

"There should be no reason that each of your offices can't distribute five letters per week," wrote Kenneth Knox, regional parole supervisor for the state's central and southern region.
As I have said before, the Governor has some smart people around him. So I can't understand how, regardless of the probable legality of the activity, that somebody wouldn't have jumped up at some point and said 'Hey, this just isn't going to look good, and will probably blow up in our faces.'

But sure enough, when taken to task on the issue, state officials tried to defend the practice and sound as if they couldn't even envision that it would look, um, awkward.
The Illinois Department of Corrections, which is overseeing the "community outreach" campaign, said it is a parole officer's job to inform the public about new laws.

"We all work for the governor. We wanted the public to know the good things the administration is doing," said DOC spokeswoman Dede Short.
No matter how many good things the Governor may do or try to do, if he doesn't get a handle on these types of stories, he's going to find himself in a one step forward, two steps back situation.

8 Comments:

At November 6, 2005 at 10:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps someone should put this on a CD for the Governor. It's the ethics policy. So who's going to file the complaint?

5 ILCS 425/1 et seq.
5 ILCS 430/1-1et seq.

 
At November 7, 2005 at 9:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do they just not get it?!

 
At November 7, 2005 at 1:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For crying out loud, the Governor has 15 million in the campaign account and will likely have 20 to 25 million by the general election. It is not like he doesn't have enought cash to get the message out.

The facts as laid out probably don't violate the law, it is "outreach" and "awareness", not campaigning. Nevertheless, I agree with John, it looks terrible and certainly doesn't fit in with "reform and renewal"

 
At November 7, 2005 at 2:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anybody know if "DOC spokeswoman Dede Short" actually works for DOC? I thought those spokespersons were consolidated into CMS or some other central agency. When Fritchey wonders why nobody on staff said, "this isn't going to look good", it's partly because there's no one looking out for the agencies anymore.

 
At November 7, 2005 at 2:52 PM, Blogger Rich Miller said...

Where are the one steps forward?

 
At November 7, 2005 at 9:30 PM, Blogger Hon. John Fritchey said...

Rich, on paper, the Administration can point to a pretty good number of things that look, sound, and even are, impressive. The problem as I see it is that stories like this one are going to overshadow and/or taint them.

 
At November 8, 2005 at 7:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

John and Rich, I think that this is the predicament tat this admin finds itself in. For all of the good things they have done, the print news often prints scandal stories instead of reporting the good, substantive stuff being done. If this is the case, and if the good things that you do wont be reported, why not take another hit like this in order ot get the word out. People need to know what your administration is doing, and if the free press focuses only on the negative, then why not get the word out. The hit you get will just blur into the other negative stories they are running already.

Its unfortunate that the admin needs to do this (although it isnt illegal), but if they dont get their positive record out there, wont they be toast anyway?

 
At November 8, 2005 at 11:35 AM, Blogger Angry Jolietan said...

Bradley Tusk sure is earning that paycheck.

 

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