The needler in the haystack.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Memo to Dr. Gallon: Wisdom from Mark Twain

Statue of Twain at Hannibal, Missouri.

Plainfield Schools Superintendent Dr. Steve Gallon III has been much in the news in the past few days, and it hasn't been exactly edifying.

Like it or not, the public is going to have an opinion. Whether or not it is well-informed or less so is primarily the result of Dr. Gallon's ability to anticipate issues and explain his decisions. (For instance, walking a sensitive personnel matter onto the agenda AFTER the public comment section has been closed.)

Like it or not, the media is going to cover school district goings-on. It should come as no surprise that controversy sells newspapers.

Dissing the public or the press is never a good idea.

As Mark Twain is supposed to have said, 'Never pick a fight with someone who buys his ink by the barrel.'

Which can now be updated to include 'and uploads his files by the gigabyte'.

Cartoon by Steve Greenberg ©1996.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

I dont know, Dan. I think Gallon has been pretty open and responsive to the press. Unlike the Assistant Mayor Robinson-Briggs he seemed to not had dodge issues with the public or press. Frankly, I read his comments and was actually at the BOE meeting in question. They were pretty much focused on the unfair public dealing with personnel matters as had been the case with the two "staffers". As an employee of PPS, I must admit I had to agree with him. I hope we can all just move on. But this is Plainfield so maybe not.

Rob said... true..

active citizen said...

I wonder if Plainfield did hire the best person for Superintendent of Schools. We have had some losers over the years. To use another quote, "If you can't handle the heat, get out of the kitchen." The Plainfield schools and school board are hot issues and as taxes skyrocket and the city heads towards bankruptcy, get used to it Dr. Gallon.

Anonymous said...

Mark Twain looks like Richard Pheonix!

Dan said...

@ 5:58 PM -- Since Twain came first, it's really a case of Rich looking like him, but I had the same thought when I was putting the picture up. Amazing, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Dan, I have met Dr. Gallo on several occassions and he seems to be a pretty pleasant and intelligent guy. What I think some Plainfielders are finding out is that pleasant does not amount to weak. I have been impressed with his ideas for education. I have been even more impressed with what appears to be his resistance to Plainfield politics and business as usual in the school system. When I saw JG comment on the matter it immediately became clear to me and then we voted the mayor in for a second term. There are bigger issues in the city which is controlled by politics in the person of JG. Leave this guy alone and let him do his job.

Dan said...

Helloooooooooo readers!

The post suggests that it is unwise of a person in Dr. Gallon's position to diss the press and the public.

Reason: the press has more ink than you have blood. And someone has to explain to me how getting the general public riled up against you is a good idea.

Plus, in America, the public takes if for granted it has a right to see what you're up to and comment on it. Other countries may do it differently, but in America nobody in public office gets 'left alone', much as they may want to be.

Rob said...

Honey vs. Vinegar to be sure...WHEN dealing with public relations and satisfaction as part of your job ( whether you believe that to be part of your job or not )
Obviously politicians, especially here in our own little corner of the world, Plainfield, feel differently as a whole. At least the "leadership" doesn't believe that.