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Saturday, December 18, 2010

More of the Same Contradictions In Media Coverage

In newspaper articles covering the report recently released on the coroner's office, county administration officials have claimed they went outside the county to find an independent person to carry out the investigation.
JG Excerpt:
The county hired Nowlan & Mouat law firm in Janesville to review allegations of election violations, misconduct in public office and a hostile work environment because it wanted an independent person outside the county to handle the investigation, said Dave O'Connell, human resources director.
Outside the county? Nevermind that the law firm of Nowlan & Mouat is less than a block away from the county building. In addition, the "independent person" chosen to investigate the coroner's office is no stranger to Janesville/Rock County politics. In fact, the county would be hard-pressed to find a more authoritarian activist to investigate the spurious complaints against a democratically elected office-holder than the one they chose, Attorney David Moore.

Here's just one reason why. In February of '09, when the Janesville city council discussed a resolution to change the city's committee appointment process, it was Moore who spoke at length during the public hearing in support of rejecting the change. He insisted that Janesville government is better off leaving approval on key appointments for various city committees in the hands of a single city employee (city manager) than to a democratically chosen citizen nomination committee. He argued that a check and balance was built into the current system since the existing ordinance stated the appointments are ”with the approval of the council.” This of course ignores the obvious, that committees should be wholly independent of council and city manager influence since they oftentimes deal with administrative decisions or oversight. However, I do concede in the fact that Janesville city government, as progressive as some folks have been led to believe it is - does not have citizen appeals or oversight committees - at all. Janesville's city committees are merely opinion panels ad hoc'ed for city projects and loaded with establishment players and council members.

Back then, Moore's arguments in my view was indicative of a personal bias against democracy so strange that it eventually prompted me to post a rebuttal here on my blog. A rebuttal of course obviously made without foresight to the investigative report he would later submit on the county coroner's office nearly two years later.

In hindsight however, he may have been the best person for the investigation. That a hard-line authoritarian such as Moore was unable to uncover any conclusive evidence of wrongdoing other than to create suppositions only by ignoring a state statute is a further testimonial to the coroner's integrity and professionalism. Coroner Keach faced an adversarial force in Moore and survived. Is she perfect? Of course not, but on the other hand - who is? But claiming Moore is a neutral or "independent" person outside the loop of county or local politics in this investigation is preposterous.

Usually our local media tries to keep their contradictions at least several paragraphs apart than in this example published by the Beloit Daily News.
BDN Excerpt:
The counsel found Keach acted inappropriately by being present at a coroner’s staff meeting in which a petition in favor of keeping the elected coroner over an appointed medical examiner was passed around. The counsel could not determine if Deputy Coroner Michelle Walworth’s allegations that Keach was present at the time were accurate, according to the documents. (contradictory statements)
Well, which is it?

On another note: It's been confirmed that the county board has once again begun the process to dismantle elective county offices. At Thursday's board meeting, Supervisor Phil Owens put forth the resolution to abolish the coroner's office. It has now moved on to the Public Safety and Justice committee. Stay informed.


Richard Costerisan said...

How come the news media isn't asking these questions?

Anonymous said...

We seem to be entering the new age of McCarthyism perpetrated by these lowly county board members and pushed by the media. With the media not asking the real questions and just buying into what they are given, the real injustices being done are in effect being covered up.

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