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Monday, 4 October 2010

The Long Goodbye

Doug Oliver Packs it In
By Douglas Oliver
[Writers Clearinghouse Press Service]
Good afternoon, members of the media.

Hopefully no one thought I’d leave without an official electronic farewell (and one last blatant abuse of my privileges as Press Secretary). So here it is:

To my friends and colleagues in the press -- and to Fox29’s Mr. Kingsley Smith:

It’s been a great 999 days since the Mayor was inaugurated -– but who's counting? It really has been great! Who doesn’t like crazy hours and the occasional, random crisis?

By now, everyone knows that my esteemed and capable colleague, Mark McDonald, will replace me as Press Secretary. Mark has a passion for the media having spent most of his career working for the dark side -– I mean for the media. But as with most things in Nutter Administration -- he’s reformed now -- and he stands prepared to serve you all.

Everyone should expect nothing but the best from Mark. He may not always have the answer right away, but rest assured. When there are no facts to provide, he’ll do his best to pass something off as credible and hope no one notices like Fox29’s Kingsley Smith does. Relax, I’m kidding….. Mark would never do that!

He’s a stand-up guy and he values relationships. In fact, he views his new role as an opportunity to learn more about you all and about his colleagues in City Hall. So really, it doesn’t matter if you place a routine media inquiry at 4:30pm on a Friday afternoon. It’s not inconsiderate, really. Just ask Regina Medina! He'll just think of it as a chance for him to call department heads on their home phones and learn more about them.

Seriously though. Mark understands the business and will do everything he can to be accommodating. He understands the value of maintaining positive working relationships and he would never abuse them (insert Fox29’s Kingsley Smith joke here).

Seriously though, to all:

Thank you all for your part in making my work experience enjoyable and productive. Thank you for listening to my next-day critiques of your stories as I tried to convince you that it would be much easier if you just let me write the story for you. (I would have if you let me.) I have appreciated the debates, the intellectual sparring and the professional courtesy that you’ve shown me. You allowed me a chance to grow into the position and that means a lot to me.

And even when I gave you one big long run-on sentence with no commas or pauses that moved fluidly from one topic to another that was sometimes redundant and some times it even repeated itself and some times was redundant and sometimes repeated itself and never seemed to end even though your story was already written and I was wasting my breath as if any of it was going to change the story at that point…

Where was I?

Oh, yeah. Thank you for correcting my spelling and putting periods and commas where they belonged. You helped me come across as reasonable and intelligent, sometimes despite myself.

I have truly enjoyed working with you all and I hope that circumstance causes our paths to cross again. I’m sure they will.

(Douglas Oliver resigned last week as press secretary to Mayor Michael Nutter).

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