In last week’s issue of The Star News, a Vox Pop writer noted seeing school administrative staff going to a local restaurant on a regular basis and in the process implied that they were doing so at taxpayer expense. In addition, the writer also raised speculation as to the beverages being consumed during these lunches.
In hindsight, such extraneous personal attacks on the character of those involved should have been edited out and not allowed to be put into print. For that, The Star News apologizes to those involved and to our readers.
Where a group of coworkers chooses to eat lunch has little bearing on the debate surrounding a $39.9 million referendum. If anything, school officials should be commended for taking the effort to frequent area eating establishments and in the process not only supporting local businesses, but also increase visibility and engagement opportunities with district residents.
As for the implication that lunches were being paid for on the taxpayer’s dime, this is easily proven false by doing a search through the district’s financial reports. These list every check and every credit card purchase by district staff members on behalf of the district and are available for viewing on the district’s website.
Just as it is incorrect to jump to assumptions when seeing a group of coworkers out for lunch, making assumptions about what beverages are in people’s cups is likewise incorrect. Not that anyone should ever have to defend themselves for what they legally choose to purchase and consume on their own time, but there is no indication that any impropriety was taking place and everyone involved was acting professionally and responsibly.
In small communities, people in positions of responsibility whether in the public or private sector, live in a fishbowl. They recognize that, rightly or wrongly, they are held to a higher standard as far as their actions, however it is unacceptable to make assumptions based on incomplete information and idle speculation.