thought_suppression1Page B1 of the Tribune today leads with the article “City acknowledges fire violations.” Raymond Smith reports that among the “hundreds of inspection notices” he received in response to a public records request, a five page notice containing “about a dozen violation codes pertaining to the fire suppression system in the [Warren City owned] three-story Community Services Building, 418 Main Ave. SW.” The article continues:

Safety Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa denied for weeks the existence of the violation notice.”

The problem there was that there was not a working fire suppression system in the building, and the cause may have been, or may not have been, intentional. We will probably never know for sure. But this situation is also symptomatic of Doug and Enzo’s reaction to any attempt by the public, or the media, to gain access to information that is legally theirs to have. The information does not belong to Doug and Enzo — it belongs to you and me, and they have a legal obligation to provide it when it is requested. But as anyone who has ever made a public information request to the city knows, the typical response is to be ignored, stonewalled, or provided with an incomplete response. Does anyone actually believe Enzo didn’t know the report existed. The article continues:

“[WFD Captain] Smith declined to comment for this story and referred questions to the city administration. The fire inspector previously had been ordered not to speak to the media after unrelated stories came to light regarding gasoline tanker trucks parked and unattended in the city.”

This is the same Captain Bill Smith who has been working under a gag order given him by Enzo last summer because of a series of citations Smith issued in an attempt to stop a fuel truck from being parked illegally near a residential neighborhood. The question is, “Why all this secrecy?” If it is to spare the city the embarrassment of these situations it is failing miserably — particularly in this most recent case. If Enzo had just admitted the error it might have warranted a single newspaper article and would have been forgotten the next day. Instead, it has generated at least three stories over more than a month, plus addition records requests attempting to find the truth.

Contrast Doug and Enzo’s crisis management strategy to what happened this week when a key employee of Inspiring Minds was arrested on drug charges. Inspiring Minds CEO Deryk Toles immediately suspended the employee without pay and spoke to numerous media outlets (see the WFMJ clip), reiterating the organization’s “zero tolerance for drugs” policy. He didn’t hide. He didn’t try to BS the public. He manned-up and faced the cameras. He looks like what he is — someone you can trust to do the right thing. A leader.

Posted Thursday, April 7th, 2016 under Crime.

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