Letters to the Editor

It wasn’t the brush-off | LETTER TO THE EDITOR

To the editor:

I’m writing in response to reportage that mentions me in the Aug. 11 article regarding the mayor, and the Record’s interpretation of matters regarding the mayor’s compensation.

The article reports that I didn’t respond to the reporter’s call for comment on Monday, Aug. 9. Factually correct. However, a quick call or two by the reporter to mutual contacts of ours in Langley would have informed the reporter I was in Japan with my family on vacation at that time. Thus, I was unavailable for comment, which is a world apart from not responding to a reporter’s questions.

Regarding Mary Jo McArdle’s account of my meetings with her in said article, here are the facts:

For our first meeting, Ms. McArdle came to my office, unannounced and unscheduled. I dropped whatever business I was working on at that moment and sat face-to-face with her in the two armchairs in our meeting space. I listened to her concerns about the mayor and his vacation time/pay, and shared my thoughts and opinions with her. This conversation lasted at least 30 minutes by my recollection, and it may even have lasted a bit longer.

Ms. McArdle describes this meeting by saying I gave her the “brush-off.” According to Answers.com the idiom “brush off” means an “abrupt dismissal or snub.” Personally,

I find it hard to fathom how a 30-minute, face-to-face discussion in comfy chairs can be characterized by Ms. McArdle as a “brush off.”

Ms. McArdle’s second unannounced and unscheduled visit to my office coincided with peak activity a day or two before a major two-day conference I was producing in Langley at the end of May. As is typical of these events,

I was putting out last-minute fires and juggling last-minute details. There could not have been a worse moment for her to interrupt my work, unannounced.

Still, I stopped what I was doing and engaged in a five- to 10-minute hallway conversation with Ms. McArdle. Fundamentally, she had nothing new to add to the conversation we had had weeks previously, and I had nothing new to add as well. I ended the conversation so that I could return to pressing and urgent work.

In hindsight, it’s unfortunate that I was unavailable to respond to the reporter’s questions on Monday about my meetings with Ms. McArdle. I’ve now learned from my own personal experience with the way that Ms. McArdle interprets events the importance of presenting the other side of her story.

Russell Sparkman


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