The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
Here's today's press release; Delauter's part (which deals with the controversy described in this post (as well as in many other places)) starts in paragraph five:
FREDERICK COUNTY SUPPORTS TRANSPARENT GOVERNMENT
FREDERICK, MD—Frederick County Government values open and transparent government and believes that
citizens have a right to know what the government is doing. Citizens deserve to have elected officials tell them the truth and share information honestly and fairly. Frederick County Government values the principles of freedom of speech and freedom of the press provided for in our country's Constitution. It is a vital part of our democratic process.
Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner commented, "I will work hard to ensure open and transparent government in Frederick County and that citizens have the ability to participate to help shape the future of our community."
County Council President Bud Otis agrees. "We must have respectful communication and dealings with the public and the press. That is our intended policy. It is necessary for the good of the public interest to have an open and civil government," he said.
In addition, County Council Member Kirby Delauter, District 5, issued the following statement:
"The first amendment is alive and well in Frederick County. As a public figure working to maintain and improve the county, it can be very frustrating to feel misrepresented or misinterpreted by a local media outlet.
"Over my career I have fired off my fair share of angry e-mails, which in hindsight I wish I hadn't. I can't think of one that had a positive effect. Usually, they only served to escalate the conflict. I thought I had long ago learned the lesson of waiting 24 hours before I hit the send key, but apparently I didn't learn that lesson as well as I should have.
"Of course, as I am an elected official, the Frederick News-Post has the right to use my name in any article related to the running of the county—that comes with the job. So yes, my statement to the Frederick News-Post regarding the use of my name was wrong and inappropriate. I'm not afraid to admit when I'm wrong.
"I got elected to serve all the citizens of northern Frederick County, Democrats as well as Republicans. I look forward to the local papers covering my effort in that regard."
As the new charter government, Frederick County will foster an environment of trust, mutual respect, and frequent and timely communication.
Glad to see this; thanks to Walter Olson for passing this along.
UPDATE: The Frederick News-Post posts a more detailed apology that appeared on Kirby Delauter's Facebook page:
Note that this also specifically apologizes to Bethany Rodgers, the reporter whom he originally threatened with litigation. (Recall that the original threat also appeared on Delauter's Facebook page.)