The recent article in the Lowell Sun regarding the Greater Lowell Technical Sub-Committee is bringing again into question the bias charges that often get leveled at the newspaper.
Several Blogs including this one took the story by Erin Smith and ranted against the sub-committee for what we believed was a flawed and unfair process using many of the statements attributed in the article.
Victor Olson a sub-committee member from Dracut was the only committee person to respond to any of the Blogs doing so on Dracut Forum where he listed what he called misrepresented items in the Sun. I followed up with the reporter Erin Smith and her replies leave me with little doubt that the story was indeed unfair and slanted against the school.
Victor Olson claims the quote that led the story “Those applying to be the next superintendent of Greater Lowell Technical High School would find a salary less than $130,000 “insulting,” said School Committee member Victor Olson of Dracut. He claims that was totally incorrect,
He States: What I did is respond to is a colleague’s suggestion during discussions to a $110,000 low end of salary range and that a candidate for Superintendent would find that as “insulting” if offered the position given that assistant superintendents and administrators in districts throughout the area are at or more than that salary and you would not likely attract any outside interest. A salary of $130,000 is where most likely you would begin to generate outside candidate interest with the qualifications and licenses required. The $130,000 salary is where Dracut Supt. Mr Mullen is currently at and is the third from the bottom in salary for Superintendents in the region.
The Sun article initially stated: O’Neill’s motion to lower the starting salary range to $125,000 eventually won out, with fellow committee members Olson and George O’Hare of Lowell, agreeing to cap the salary at $160,000 for top candidates. Lenzi was the only opposing vote.
But what is didn’t show the first time but did when it was “updated 1/22/2010 1:53:52 included Also last night: Olson said he wants to pay the next superintendent no less than $130,000, citing the salary for superintendents in the state averages $142,500.
Nor did it mention these votes taken at the same meeting according to Mr. Olson
- 1. Mr O’Neil Made a Motion to set the advertised salary range between $120,000 and $160,000. The Motion failed due to lack of second.
- Mr. Lenzi then made a Motion to set the advertised Salary range between $125,000 and $165,000 and was seconded by Mr. O’Hare. Motion failed. Lenzi and O’Hare YES, O’Neil and Olson NO.
She also states in the body of the Story: School officials’ debate on salary range seemed to center at times on setting a price above the current salary for Mary Jo Santoro, the vocational school’s assistant superintendent and principal.
School officials have yet to advertise the position, and the deadline to apply for the job is March 19, but so far, Santoro is the front-runner to replace retiring Superintendent James Cassin, according to School Committee member Michael Lenzi of Lowell
The line: School officials’ debate on salary range seemed to center at times on setting a price above the current salary for Mary Jo Santoro Is clearly her opinion and she crafted the article to support that by then stating
David Laferriere said the Tech’s assistant superintendent makes more than $125,000 annually (It is and if he stated that during the discussion of starting the salary at less than that he has a valid point)
Santoro is the front-runner to replace retiring Superintendent James Cassin, according to School Committee member Michael Lenzi of Lowell - Which makes it seem he said this at the meeting, when she told me in her email that she really heard it in a phone interview with Lenzi prior to the meeting but never in her story stated that fact. Again Lenzi said it but not in the meeting like the story led you to believe.
So while Erin Smith reported comments made at the meeting, you can clearly argue that the report was slanted to make the Vocational Sub-Committee members look bad, unfair and that they have a clear candidate in mind for the job.
They may have but if the Sun thinks that they have an agenda shouldn’t that be written in an editorial or by a columnist? Isn’t a story such as Erin Smiths article supposed to state the facts without biased or slant? This is a clear example of why the Sun gets accused of being a bias, agenda driven paper.
What do you think?