JONESBORO, Ark. – The City of Jonesboro’s spokesperson says local television station KAIT is trying to cover itself for a “startlingly inaccurate report” by changing the wording in a story first published Wednesday evening, then by calling his comments to NEA Report “incorrect.”
The report was published at 5:29 p.m., when Region 8 News reported, “The former director of information systems for the city of Jonesboro is back employed with the city, but his job title is not known.”
However, the latest version of the story adds the line “pending a decision by Mayor Harold Perrin.” The story, which has been updated several times by the outlet, also does not reflect corrections or annotations regarding earlier versions.
Shortly after the first report by KAIT, Campbell told NEA Report that Woodruff had not retained his job and was not presently working for the city, nor had he since his release. While Woodruff was being paid, Campbell called the story of his employment “not at all correct.”
The KAIT report was since updated several times. In the most recent update, the line was added, “Woodruff later clarified his remarks and stated he is an employee of the city, but Mayor Perrin has ten days to render a final decision regarding his permanent employment. Mayor Perrin confirmed to Region 8 News Wednesday night that Woodruff remains on the city’s payroll pending his decision.”
Additionally, another line added during one of the updates was about Campbell’s comments to NEA Report.
“Campbell told a blogger that Woodruff was no longer a city employee. That has since turned out to be incorrect. Woodruff will remain a city employee for up tp (sic) ten days unless a decision is reached by Mayor Perrin sooner.”
Late Wednesday, NEA Report again spoke with Campbell, who said the TV station was trying to cover their mistakes.
“I explained in detail to (KAIT General Manager) Chris Conroy what happened,” Campbell said. “They are trying to cover themselves for a startlingly incorrect report that said Woodruff had been rehired. He was terminated without pay on Jan. 9. Wednesday, he asked the mayor to be paid until a final decision on his appeal was reached. The mayor consented.”
Receiving money from the city without performing job duties does not constitute one being employed, however.
Campbell describes Woodruff’s pay similar to a post-termination employee benefit, due to the mayor’s good will.
“He does not come to work and he has not been on payroll, but because of Wednesday afternoon’s agreement, he will receive pay for time since his dismissal,” Campbell said.
by Stan Morris