Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Resignation of Pam Learned

In her resignation letter to the CHCA board, Pam Learned did not specify what legal liability she was trying to avoid by stepping down, but she did make reference to an e-mail I had sent to her in response to an e-mail she had sent to community and board members from her work account. (She is the president of Word Work, Inc., a marketing communications firm based in Lansdale. According to Learned's Linked In profile, she and her employees "write and design websites, logos, brochures, and newsletters for about 20 clients in small business, local government, and non-profits.")

Upon resignation, Learned told the board that she was not sure what I was referring to. Perhaps I can clear that up. 

(Note: I'm not taking credit for her resignation. There are a number of reasons that she could have resigned, including her role in trying to fire Local Editor Pete Mazzaccaro without just cause or due process. I do hope I was partly responsible, though.)

In that e-mail, posted below, Madam Learned suggested that I should be fired because:

1.) I don't deserve to be paid to "malign" my employers (I'm not paid to post on this blog).

2.) I am an "unprofessional" and biased reporter.

Learned was a reporter herself for two years and seven months, during which time she won two awards for investigative journalism from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association. That makes her e-mail all the more appalling--and hypocritical. Perhaps she only cares for the exposition of corruption when she's on the writing side. She should know better.

Exhibit A: Learned's E-Mail...

I've just read the blog with the most recent posting being January 13, 2008. Yes, Walter, we have a serious issue with the staff of the Local and the issue is not bylaws or representation. It is the result of poor management by unprofessional managers.

The fact that the board had to step in on the issue of Jimmy Pack says to me that there are managerial issues that must be addressed. Specific, documented requests to handle the issue with Jimmy were ignored and denied. Now, we have another employee who is exposing us through unprofessional conduct as a journalist.

As for Joel's comments on the blog, I see no reason to employ someone who feels they must malign their employer with unsubstantiated innuendo. Clearly, it is not a good fit. Most important, it outlines the lack of objectivity we have in reporting on important community issues.

With this example in mind, I can't say in good conscience to the residents we represent that we have reporters working with integrity as they carry out the mission of the CHCA through the paper that we publish. That must change in 2009.

I'd never deny someone the opportunity for free speech, but I wouldn't pay for anyone to speak in a way about his employer in a way that is unsubstantiated and which subject our board members to legal liability. It's just bad business.


Exhibit B: My response to that e-mail, which was sent to Rob Remus, Walter Sullivan (who apparently inspired her commentary) and at least six other people...


Pam
I read your e-mail with great interest. A few things you should know:

1.) The blog is not associated with the paper.
2.) I can legally write whatever I want so long as I don't libel anyone. Libel means a false and defamatory statement of fact.
3.) You would do well to read this primer on blogging and libel law:
http://w2.eff.org/bloggers/
4.) If you ever libel me again in an e-mail, you're going to have some trouble on your hands.

-Joel


Labels:

2 Comments:

Blogger Jeremiade said...

Pam was another director who didn't understand that it is the Board who is acting contrary to the interest of Chestnut Hill. What Pam describes as maligning the employer is reporting on the ridiculous actions of the CHCA Board(s). The destruction of ballots and the Commonwealth's investigation of wrong doing are still too fresh in our minds.

Thu Jan 29, 12:22:00 AM EST  
Blogger Denys said...

Bravo.

Thu Jan 29, 11:32:00 AM EST  

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