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Kennedy Confronts Gookin re: Rumor

Following is Mike Kennedy's response via the comments section re: why he confronted fellow Councilman Dan Gookin at the Tuesday meeting:

I had asked Dan during a break if he recently called a reporter for the Press telling them that SD271 was going to have the School Resource Officer program “moved” to work with the county instead of the city. After pressing a bit he admitted that he had placed that story with the reporter even though it was false. I had asked him if he had called any of the following for clarification of the facts before calling the reporter: Mayor Bloem, Administrator Gabriel, Chief Longo, Superintendent Bauman, Sheriff Watson, or anyone else in a position to know. Dan said he did not call any of them. There is only one reason to plant a story like that, to spread a rumor like that - because you want to make a city department (in this case police) or a city department head (in this case Wayne Longo) look bad. Dan said that wasn’t his motivation, but there are enough other examples of his intimidating, aggressive and hostile questioning of staff to allow me to believe it. In my mind the episode only highlighted the need for a true Public Information Officer for the city, something I’ve advocated for years. I shared my feeling that a sitting council member feeding false stories to the press and causing untold hours of fact-checking and rumor-controlling is long term more costly and corrosive to productivity, efficiency, morale, and the city’s “bottom line” than one line item in the budget that is intended to help communicate basic facts and real-time information with the public better.


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D.F. Oliveria
D.F. (Dave) Oliveria joined The Spokesman-Review in 1984. He currently is a columnist and compiles the Huckleberries Online blog and writes about North Idaho in his Huckleberries column.

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