If you are the editor/publisher of a newspaper, you carry singular power and responsibility to the public. If you’re going to write a front page story denigrating the former County Attorney, a woman, disguised in a puff piece on the current CA, a man, there will be questions. And if, in the same edition, you inexplicably choose to disparage the reputation of a respected, local doctor — oh look, another professional woman — there will be questions. Dear editor: Do better.
Two front page stories in last week’s Anderson News raised several questions for which I have sought answers, the first titled “Weido announces bid for reelection.” The story states that Mr. Weido “had little time to savor that victory” because, due to it being a special election, he was unaware that he would be sworn in immediately.
How is it possible to run for public office and be unaware of the start date?
Notably, “Weido said the transition was not as smooth as the citizens of Anderson County deserved, but the transition was exactly what was expected,” and Mr. Weido is quoted as saying, “I had no files, no staff, no building, and no funding….”
I contacted former County Attorney Tiffany Azzinaro to ask about these allegations. “There were 3 women in my office — Whitney McCormick, Beth Willoughby, and June Hancock — that had no idea what to do about coming to work the next day,” she said. “They had not heard from Robert to know if they had jobs or not. I reached out to him, but they heard nothing from him about reporting to work on the 10th or the 11th, so they assumed they had no job.”
Mr. Weido states, “During that transition period we simply had to make due [sic] and we did the best that we could.” Why did Mr. Weido decide not to hire, even if for a transition period only, any of the the 3 women who had working knowledge of the office?
Ms. Azzinaro also provided me with a copy of this email dated November 9, 2020, six days after the election. “Robert: We need to make some arrangements, rather quickly, for this transition to occur. There is a child support docket at 10 tomorrow and a DNA docket at 1:00 tomorrow. Also, the staff is curious about whether or not they have jobs. They have not heard from you at all. Could you either reach out to me or to them at the office before we close so they have an idea as to what is going on? Please let me know when you are coming to at least get the files for tomorrow. We do not have hard copy child support files, but we do have hard copy DNA files. Dana is ready, willing and able to continue to function as the Assistant. She is completely knowledgeable and wonderful. Please reach out to her if you can.”
Ms. Azzinaro has provided me with additional emails dated November 10, 20, and December 8 which are too long and detailed to quote here, but suffice it to say they indicate that both Ms. Azzinaro and Mr. Weido were communicating in detail about transferring files, phone lines, bank accounts, etc… In what way does this denote a difficult transition that was “exactly what was expected?”
Mr. Weido has been in office almost a year. I asked Ms. Azzinaro if she had ever, within that year, been contacted by TAN Editor Ben Carlson for a statement or documents relative to the transition.
Her response: “No.”
The second front page story regards the complaint Dr. Pamela Graber filed with the Kentucky Board of Licensure for Occupational Therapy. I assume Mr. Carlson has a copy of the complaint as there are direct quotes from her letter in his article. It is curious, then, why Mr. Carlson quotes Ms. Courrejolles at length but provides none — none — of the references to credible sources on masks provided by Dr. Graber: the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the National Institute of Health (NIH), and the National Academy of Sciences.
In his Opinion column, Mr. Carlson then wrote: “For not obeying the establishment’s talking points, a local doctor fired off a very ugly complaint to the state board” and “we can thank people like this authoritarian-loving doctor who, and I hope this is true, is retired.”
Dr. Graber has lived in Lawrenceburg for 35 years. She worked 15 years in the ER and 3 years before that in public health service. She went on to be the medical director for Anthem’s Healthy Woman program and continued to work for insurers auditing charts for fraud, etc…. Dr. Graber was, and remains, board certified in public health and emergency medicine (expired in the ER now) and is currently licensed as a retired physician.
I contacted Dr. Graber — she is active in local groups and easy to find — to ask why Mr. Carlson might impugn her reputation as a physician and describe her as “authoritarian-loving.” She had no idea, and went on to describe the charity medical work she has been fortunate to do in disaster areas and on the border since her retirement. She also wanted to make it clear that she named Ms. Mitchell and Ms. Morgan in her letter because she knew the licensing board would ask for witnesses. She was simply providing the names of 2 people she knew to be present at the school board that night.
I asked Dr. Graber if she had been contacted by Mr. Carlson for his article or opinion piece.
Her response: “No.”
And finally, 3 questions for the editor of this newspaper:
- Why did you choose to present exclusively the detailed medical perspective of Ms. Courrejolles and nothing from Dr. Graber?
- Oddly missing from the piece on Mr. Weido’s reelection bid is his platform. As I recall, his focus in the special election was the Second Amendment, and yet gun rights do not fall within the purview of the county attorney. What is Mr. Weido’s platform within the scope of the office?
- Why were two professional women with decades of experience — Ms. Azzinaro with a law degree and Dr. Graber with a medical degree — not even contacted for these stories?