Friday, October 25, 2013

Ritz's Office Needed Better Media Strategy

I'm going to let the specifics of Glenda Ritz's lawsuit over open door law concerns play out in court or in Greg Zoeller's Office.

I'd be remiss, however, if I didn't comment on the way I believe her office has handled the media interest over the lawsuit because that's kind of what I do here.  Sometimes, I feel like an umpire.  I just have to call balls and strikes.  On this particular topic, I have to call a wild pitch.

Ritz's office seemed not to have a particular media strategy on how to deal with the very likely chance that political reporters and general assignment reporters would be interested in the story.  Her Press Secretary looked like he was caught off guard and seemed unprepared to deal with bulldogs like Mary Milz and Jim Shella.  It hurt Ritz's case in the public eye and came off as amateurish and ill-conceived.

I don't know at what level the ball was dropped, but I would have had a strategy before I announced the lawsuit.  These things are always easier in hindsight, but if I were in Ritz's shoes, I would have been the one to announce the lawsuit at a news conference.  I would have been the one talking to the press, and my comment would have been this, "At this time, this is a pending court case, and I have been advised by my counsel to not comment at this time.  Without speaking to the specifics of this case, I believe government should be open and accountable, and this was one of the key planks of my campaign when I ran in 2012.  I will stand up for our students and our teachers when I feel that those principles have been challenged."  The end.  End of story.  End of interview.  If anyone wanted one on one time with me, they would get a version of that sound byte to play.

I know some of the people in Ritz's office, and I know they are good people.  From the outside, it just looked bad.  When the Republicans are trying to get almost anything bad to stick to you, these are mistakes that this office just can't make.  That's my two cents.

I still have faith in Glenda Ritz, and I still strongly support her efforts.

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