Monday, March 31, 2014

Does the Knox County superintendent practice what he preaches? Or . .

“Silence is always the worst kind of reporting” – Rikki Hall

Is it ironic or hypocritical that Superintendent Jim McIntyre would tell the Knox County Commission during its March work session that if members had a problem with something the school system does, then go ahead and call him first?

“If you have questions about how we do our business . . .  how we account for things . . .  please give me a call. I think you have my phone numbers,” he said. “Rather than going straight to an audit committee and bringing some fairly salacious allegations, it would be a nice professional courtesy if myself or the school board heard from county commissioners that had concerns or issues to bring to the floor.”

He also later said: “If you have questions . . .  certainly would appreciate a call to me.”

Well, over the years, he’s had plenty of problems with reporters, particularly those who aren’t afraid to ask him tough questions, and report on the findings. He doesn’t like it.

To him it’s “divisive” or it’s just not news.

When he disagrees with a tweet, a blog post or a news report, McIntyre doesn’t call the reporter. He goes over their heads.

Funny. That’s just what he told commissioners NOT do if they have a problem. Remember? “Professional courtesy.”

Yeah, right.

Anyhoo, it is what it is.

Still, it’s worth noting that it’s not the reporter's fault that the school system had serious security issues that went undisclosed until KNS reporter Jamie Satterfield broke the story. It's not a reporter's fault that there are enough questions surrounding a school system account - one that many officials think is a slush fund - to warrant an audit. It’s not a reporter’s fault that the superintendent has less than one year of real classroom experience. It’s not a reporter's fault the superintendent feels heneeds to seek advice from local players in the PR community when he has a $900,000 communications department. It’s not a reporter's fault he can’t give a straight answer when asked about the school system’s physical plant upgrades account. And, it’s not a reporter's fault that he and Knox County Commissioner Jeff Ownby aren’t on the same page.

Nope. Not a reporter's fault at all.

However, myself and at least one other reporter in this community do report about the issues. Because it’s news. It’s something people want to read.

And if the superintendent has a problem and wants to sit down and talk, then maybe he should practice what he preaches.

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