By Assunta Ng
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn is a smart guy with good intentions. Here is the problem, though. He often acts opposite to what he intends, destroying good will and the relationships he has built.
Take last Tuesday for instance. He invited the ethnic and community media to city hall so that he could build better relations to counter the negative press he has received. Sounds like a doable plan.
About 20 people showed up, a pretty good representation, eager to share with the mayor what was bothering them.
But the mayor had another agenda. He stayed for only 20 minutes, even though the roundtable was scheduled for two hours. A couple of journalists who paid for babysitters to watch their kids so they could attend, found out that the mayor had no time for them.
The reason for his departure was that he had to be home cooking his kids’ dinner. It was about 6:10 p.m. You would think that if it were that urgent, he’d rush out to attend to his fatherly duties.
Not really. He walked slowly to the far side of the room to get an apple from a plate (supposedly prepared for the media), taking a bite on his way out.
Afterward, a journalist said, “He should be fired.” ♦
On Sept. 6, the City of Seattle’s Assistant Communications Director Aaron Pickus wrote:
I’m writing you today to apologize for my lack of clarity regarding the agenda for our roundtable last month.
The Mayor’s Office designed an event for local, ethnic and emerging media to meet with the Mayor, each other, and the Mayor’s Office communications and outreach teams. The goal was to get to know each other and learn how to better work together.
In planning and organizing the event we had only scheduled for the Mayor to be at the roundtable for the first 30 minutes to talk about our major initiatives and engage in a Q&A. After that it was supposed to be more logistical, about how to work with the Mayor’s Office Communication and Outreach teams and how we can work better with all of you. We didn’t plan for the Mayor to attend the latter portions. Instead, the last hour of the roundtable was to be run by communication and outreach team members, led by Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith and Communications Director Beth Hester.
Publisher Assunta Ng can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.