City right to not talk about personnel issues

Published 8:14 am Wednesday, December 1, 2010

To the Editor:

I have generally thought that The Tidewater News does a good job of presenting factual news, but Sunday’s headline story (“City mum on chief’s status,” Nov. 28) completely missed the mark.

There was not one single fact or even a “confidential source” quote to give any credence to your intimation that our chief of police had been the subject of disciplinary action.

As usual, you indicate that those city officials you contacted had no comment about your assertion, and that is only proper, since it is a personnel issue. If they are doing a proper job, and they seem to have done so up to now, this is what will always be your response.

You want to allude that this indicates that they are hiding something, but it is proper, and you should not indicate otherwise.

I think that Chief Phil Hardison is doing an excellent job. I attended the Franklin-Sussex football game last Saturday, and our police force was very evident in their presence, allowing little space for fans’ exuberance to get out of hand. They all were well uniformed, courteous, helpful, and friendly, yet it was obvious that they were well prepared to quell any disturbance.

You continue to dredge up the issue with retired officer Ronnie McClenny, and with it, seem to be attacking the chief and various city officials. This issue has been brought before closed session of the City Council, who apparently agreed with the decision, and before the court, which ruled that the authorities were within their legal rights.

You do not know the background for this decision, nor do I, and that is as it should be. Personnel issues are not public subjects. It’s time to give this one a rest, and continue to report real news.

Robert M. Luck