Our View: BJ-T takes on Blackwell City Council

by BJ-T Staff

At last week’s City Council meeting, Blackwell Journal-Tribune Staff Writer Jordan Green was treated very unprofessionally by two members of the Council. These members were angered by what the J-T reported in a recent article (Smith receives standing ovation, Feb. 20) and accused the journalist of lying.

This was done in a public meeting, and this item was not on the agenda.

The two Council members said that Green reported that the Council was going to fire Smith. This, however, is incorrect. The J-T never said that. We wrote, “Any attempts to potentially fire Smith were shot down by a close vote of the Council.” We did not state that the Council was going to fire her. The agenda for the meeting, which said the Council wanted to discuss Smith's “continued employment,” implied that her termination was to be the item of discussion.

This belief was held by the majority of the people of Blackwell: they stood and applauded Smith at that meeting because they wanted to show the Council that an attempt to fire her would not be tolerated. If Council members did not intend to terminate her, they should have said that at the meeting.

But they never did.

After the February 15 meeting, Mayor TJ Greenfield said he could not comment about the reasons for which the meeting was called because he could not talk about “executive session items.” This is on the record. But at the meeting on the 20th, Greenfield said the meeting was called not to fire Smith.

So, why could the mayor not comment on the cause of the meeting the day it happened, but he could one week later? What changed?

The Open Meetings Act did not.

Another Council member called Green to the front of the room and told him to read aloud text messages sent by that Council member to other individuals. These texts were intended to discredit the article.

Whether the text messages were in regard to an executive session item from a February 15 meeting is not yet known. Also, the authenticity of the messages could not be confirmed, so Green did not read them.

Reporters do not choose what goes into the newspaper, the publisher does.

And if there is a complaint, it should be taken up with the publisher, Tina Anderson, at the office of the J-T.

The Journal-Tribune stands behind the information that we report. We will always support journalists who seek to serve and protect the people. We will report the truth. We will not give in. We will not give up. 

We will stop at nothing to deliver the truth to the people of Blackwell.