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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Brockton Backtracks on New Policy

Brockton | by Robyn Garvey  

Councillors were sent letter to not speak to media on behalf of municipality

A change of heart, a little back peddling or perhaps just poor communication.
Bayshore Broadcasting News Reporter Robyn Garvey says Brockton officials have
toned down their message regarding councilors and the media.

Efforts are being made to extinguish the flames of controversy that ignited
after a letter from the mayor’s office to the media raised serious freedom of
the press concerns.

The original letter reminded the press that the mayor is the head of council
and as such reporters were asked to 'respect' this and direct their questions to
the mayor on Brockton and Council matters.

This letter left the distinct impression that councilors would no longer be
free to make comment to the media on council decisions.

Attempts for further clarification only confirmed this fear, at the time of
the letter staff reiterated the message that the mayor is the appropriate person
reporters should talk to concerning all Brockton matters.

Unfortunately, Mayor David Inglis was unavailable for comment or further
clarification at the time of the letter as he was and remains away on
vacation.

Reporters were not the only ones upset, Councilor Chris Peabody says he too
took issue with the letter saying it was an infringement on the
Freedom of the Press which is a constitutional right.

He adds it is not the municipalities role to tell the press how to do their
job.

In the mayor’s absence Deputy Mayor Dan Gieruszak has been working hard to
smooth things over between Council and the media.

Gieruszak says it is safe to say that after further clarification it is
evident that the intend of the original message was not clearly
communicated.

He says the mayoral letter prompted Council to review its policy and
procedures regarding the media.

He says Councilors may continue to speak with the media, however he says they
are being cautioned to remember that they can only speak as an individual not on
behalf of Brockton as a whole.

So in the end nothing has changed at all in Brockton, which begs the question
as to why a letter was ever sent out to the media in the first place?

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