Last week, The Bulldog wrote two posts pointing out that the uncomplimentary reports on potholes and Lansdowne (responding to an earlier auditor’s report) were released late on Friday in a way that would lessen their impact in the media.
The city move really worked.
The pothole report didn’t make it into the Citizen until Monday and it was buried on the bottom of Page A4. That’s not great given how much residents are concerned about the quality of the city’s streets. But because of the ice storm, the Citizen didn’t deliver Monday’s paper until Tuesday.
So the news arrived to the pulp-and-paper crowd five days after it was released. Five-day-old news is really old news. By that point, people don’t really care.
Obviously the ice storm was an impossible barrier for paper delivery but a bonus for city staff that seemed determined to get as little publicity as possible. Wonder if someone got a raise at city hall for this one.
Cynical? Probably. You get that way when you see this kind of garbage happen too often.
Releasing bad news late on Friday is a nasty and cowardly business. The city is supposed to believe in open, caring and inclusive government. This late release of bad news doesn’t exactly fit there.
In the long run, such a practice undermines the city’s credibility with the public and the media.
The City of Ottawa has a perception problem. People think it is closed, uncaring, exclusive and incompetent.
Last Friday’s move only serves to reinforce that perception and undermines city government.
If the city is trying to improve its tattered image, this late release doesn’t do it.