Saturday, March 12, 2011

Was TJ fired because he told the truth?

The truth apparently is that a city police officer and public information officer exchanged text messages in the moments after the police officer had shot someone to death. My understanding, the exchange violated policy.

The PIO that told on the PIO has lost a job;
he has been reassigned.

Albuquerque's Public Safety Director Darren White's PIO, TJ Wilhelm has been accused of letting the truth out and the skinny is, that's why he no longer works for White.

Which begs a question; was what he did a good thing or a bad thing?

The answer rests on two premises; either the truth falls under exceptions to open government law or, the truth is (should be) public knowledge.

One could argue; if the truth belongs in public knowledge, Wilhelm did a good thing. If the truth enjoyed a specific exception under the law, Wilhelm did a bad thing. No one has accused him of breaking the law, and no one has argued that this truth enjoyed any exception to the law.

The right or wrong math gets a little more confusing; it is subject to perspective. Wilhelm's perspective apparently; the people have a right to know.

On the other hand, the PIO who exchanged the messages,
Mayor Richard Berry's spokesperson Chris Huffman-Ramirez
has apparently, a different perspective; the people do not have
a right to know about his public service unless they can prove
that they do, in a court of law. He will be defended with the
full weight and influence of Mayor Berry and City Government.

PIO Chris Huffman-Ramirez is privileged. The people's power and resources are at his disposal and he is unaccountable to us or to anyone other that the person he really works for; Mayor Berry.

Huffman-Ramirez is the poster child for PIOs gone wild. He's the one who thinks it is his call; who is and who isn't "the press" and therefore entitled to equal protection under the First Amendment. Another PIO whose job it is, to spin the truth according to his and his boss's own agendas.

And apparently, he has enough suck to get you fired if you rat him out.

Just ask TJ Wilhelm.

photos Mark Bralley

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