The Mayor held a press conference on Monday and released a letter that he and the rest of the City Council members signed (except for Gary Sandberg, natch) and sent to Journal Star publisher Ken Mauser. You can read it at PeoriaWatchdog.com, the official site of Peoria Unit 86 of the United Media Guild.
Among other things, Mayor Ardis says, “I and other city leaders are concerned about plans we’ve heard to outsource jobs, slash employees and cut wages.” And later in the letter:
I fail to see how additional moves against employees and staffing would allow the newspaper to continue as a valuable public watchdog and community resource. I have never run a newspaper. But less is surely not more, when it comes to reporting the news.
Does it strike anyone else odd that this concern is coming from a mayor and council that recently eliminated 52 positions themselves, including a third of the inspections/code enforcement department? I mean, I’ve never run a City, but less is surely not more when it comes to inspections and code enforcement. I fail to see how all these moves against employees and staffing would allow the City to add value to the taxpayers.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t like the way GateHouse Media is pillaging the Journal Star. I actually agree with the sentiments in the letter. I just think it’s a little inappropriate for the Mayor and Council to be passing judgment when they have acted similarly. After you slash important services to the taxpayers while simultaneously giving over $30 million to an out-of-town developer, it doesn’t give you much moral standing to scold the Journal Star’s publisher for doing essentially the same thing.