Even the Crusty Valley Advocate gets on board
So the crusty Daily Hampshire Gazette/Amherst Bulletin finally exposed the story of Amherst's highest by far salaried public employee taking advantage of the Schools "generous as compared to private industry" sick leave benefits.
Interestingly, reporter Nick Grabbe quotes snarky anonymous Internet comments and attributes the controversy picking up steam via Catherine Sanderson's School Committee blog, when in fact she has never posted a word about it (other than to say no comment) and refused to comment when the reporter called her for an interview.
Obviously the issue first broke on this blog--although I was smart enough to simply post the public documents without any editorial comment, knowing the racism charge would quickly follow.
When I submitted what turned out to be my final column for the venerable Amherst Bulletin in 2004 railing against the High School becoming the only one in the nation to allow teen aged girls to perform the 'Vagina Monologues' editor Nick Grabb told me I couldn't use a particularly devastating comment posted on Masslive Amherst Forum because Gazette policy did not allow use of unattributed anonymous sources.
Fortunately I knew the person, former Jr. High School principal John Burruto, and he gave me permission to attribute the quote to him. And it stayed in the column. Maybe the venerable Gazette has loosened their standards in the past six years.
But being an official reporter for a bricks and mortar newspaper has its advantages as the Superintendent took reporter Grabbe's call while in Florida at his other home: "I'm a victim of transparency," Rodriguez whined. "At what point does transparency creep up into my rights?"
Naturally School Committee member Kathleen Anderson was quick to play the race card: "In U.S. culture, there's a tendency to see the same behaviors in a person of color differently than a person of European descent."
I wonder if some school principal or lower level teacher took that many sick days in advance and casually slid a memo/spreadsheet to their boss showing they were taking those days with no further explanation; would they get away with it? Probably not, no matter their color.
If Alberto Rodriguez owned his own company he could do as he damn well pleased. But he works for the taxpayers of Amherst (and to some extent Leverett,Pelham and Shutesbury.) Since the Regional School Committee hired him and can fire him, he should have been a tad more respectful by providing them a bit of explanation for that "transparent" 2/9 memo.
Arrogance goeth before the fall.
The Bulletin Reports (finally)