June 25, 2014 - You may or may not know this, but I was on vacation over the span of two weeks (but for only six days). Always wanted to go to Maine. The opportunity came up, I jumped and the rest is history. I went to Maine.
This column is not about what I did on that trip.
Oh, no, that would be far too revealing of personal information. This column is about what happened during said trip to Maine, in the apex of civilization: The City of The Village of Clarkston, MI, USA -- where all the beautiful people live, frolic and play. The jamokes with mugs like mine just work there, so others may live in luxurious comfort.
(Don't know what a jamoke is? Dictionary.com says this about us jamokes: " . . . a low-life, a low-class person; an inconsequential person." That pretty much sounds like me, so I'm sticking with it.)
So, I get back in the saddle at work last week and read our community newspapers. The Oxford Leader. Good. Lake Orion Review, Good. The Citizen, Good. Good, good, good. Then I get to Page 5 of The Clarkston News. And, there blazon across the top of the page was this headline:
Assistant Publisher under fire
from Clarkston City Manager
In case you didn't know, the assistant publisher of this newspaper since 1989 has been and is your hero, me.
My first reaction after reading the headline? In a word, "Ouch!"
Truth be told, that wasn't the first word that popped out of my mouth. Luckily, nobody of any note was in my office. Just me. It might have been another four-letter word, but for tenderhearted, let's just go with "ouch."
I hate it when I'm the topic of a newsstory and not the guy reporting it. Some of you are snickering. I know, I hear you out there, "Karma's a bummer, dude. Guess it sucks to be you."
The lead paragraph will help get you up to speed.
"During a Clarkston City Council meeting, June 9, Don Rush was blamed for intentionally holding a legal notice from being published."
Double Ouch! (or whatever other four-letter word you think I might use). I resent the implications.
It seems some in the city's administration concluded during a public meeting, rebroadcast for the entire community and the whole wide world at independencetelevision.pegcentral.com for the next 12 months, that Big Bad Buddha Rush is a dishonest bum out to harm the city.
". . . and we just can't be having that . . . He had it on Monday . . . There is clearly an issue . . . Don did not call for a week. Don had it in his hands for 10 days and he should have picked up the phone."
Your honor, may I submit Defense Evidence Exhibits 1 through 5?
First, I would never intentionally withhold any advertising from our newspaper. That is preposterous. This is a business and I want all the paid ads I can get -- and that means getting them in the paper!
Secondly, I had the notice "in my hands" for about 37 seconds, just long enough to forward the e-mail with the notice to our composition department to format it for the paper. I don't read notices sent to me. It is not my job to edit notices. I received said e-mail on Thursday, May 1. It was to run Wednesday, May 7. Which, even by new math standards is still only six days (including the weekend) and not 10.
Thirdly, the notice the city sent contained wrong information.
Fourthly, when I did look at the actual notice and saw something was amiss, it was too late to contact the city for changes. To save the city from publishing wrong information and conducting an illegal meeting, I contacted the city the next morning and told them they could move the meeting date back, and I would get in our paper, or they could go to the daily paper to make sure the meeting was legal.
Fifthly, why was I thrown under the bus for trying to help the city rectify its own error?
And finally, your honor, I think I should be thanked by the city for trying to cover their rear-ends and owed an apology for remarks that border on the slander side of the aisle -- intentionally wrong that could adversely affect my reputation and the financials of this newspaper/business.
Aside from not knowing if thirdly, fourthly and fifthly are actual words, I rest my case. (And, I'm never going on vacation again.)
Side note: this column was written prior to Monday, June 23rd's council meeting, where I plan to ask for an apology. Let you know what happens next week.
What are your thoughts? Please send your comments to Don@ShermanPublications.org.
Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org