The former mayor of Niagara Falls, Vince Anello, recently left federal prison after serving two years for taking pension payments he didn’t deserve. Not smart. But what he did yesterday was extremely smart.
He knew that once word got out that he’d gotten out he’d be besieged by sympathetic reporters [many of the same ones who’d reveled in reporting his downfall] to give them “exclusive” interviews about his experience and his return to the Falls.
He — whether aided by a public relations agency or not I do not know — decided to be pro-active. He sat for repeated interviews with TV, radio and print reporters and they dutifully recounted his comments last night and this morning. Their filings said pretty much the same thing and he generated good publicity for himself. He can now at least absent himself from the media horde since he fed it what reporters wanted.
In Afghanistan, meanwhile, NATO and U.S. commanders are suffering the repercussions from burning copies of the Quran, the Muslim holy book. The reason doesn’t really matter, at this point, nor do we need to comment on the unbridled foolishness of such an act. The hundreds of Afghan protesters massed outside the gates of the Bagram Air Base testify to those.
But I must say that admitting the mistake and apologizing positively indicates crisis accountability and taking responsibility. Those won’t add up to much for the devout, but someone in the U.S. command is standing tall and admitting it erred.
In a similar vein, we have a fight between Northeastern colleges and universities and the New York City Police Department over its efforts to monitor Islamic student groups for radical or jihadist activity.
Mayor Bloomberg has no clue about crisis management. His strategy is to bluster. Not needing the job you’re in often affords that. It’s a classic clash of civil liberties — championed by most universities — and national security. I’m not taking sides, but this seems like a case of looking bad until you have the last grimace. If NYPD obtained actionable intelligence through these methods that saved lives, university presidents would probably ease back behind closed doors in ivory towers.