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Selectman Postpones Criticism of Sun Chronicle Reporter

Board of Selectmen Chair Francis Cavaco and newspaper editor Mike Kirby agree to talk in private.

Just as Seekonk Board of Selectmen Chair Francis Cavaco was about to share his opinions, likely negative, of The Sun Chronicle freelance reporter Joe Siegel, the newspaper's editor asked Cavaco at the meeting Wednesday night if a conversation could take place in private. Cavaco agreed to the proposal, and said he would table an agenda item about Siegel for two weeks.

Cavaco did not specify what he planned to say about Siegel, who has been the newspaper's beat reporter covering Seekonk for several years. The agenda item states, "Chairman to discuss professionalism of Sun Chronicle freelance reporter Joe Siegel."

The selectmen chair recently said in an interview on Jeffrey Starr Mararian's TV9 talk show that Siegel had misquoted him. Cavaco made a similar statement at a selectmen meeting in August, although he did not specify at the meeting who he believed had misquoted him.

Selectman Bob McLintock also complained at the August meeting of frequent accusations, questions and "rumors" coming from an unspecified person through email that had become time consuming for local officials, including Town Administrator Pam Nolan. McLintock also said at the meeting that he had wanted to speak with Siegel, but he had left early. McLintock did not attend the meeting on Wednesday.

Siegel declined comment for this story.

"I had asked Mr. Siegel to be here tonight because I have some recent activities that I feel need to be addressed," Cavaco said on Wednesday.

Kirby, who said he had asked Siegel to leave the room just before discussion of the agenda item began, responded to Cavaco, "Do you feel this should be done at a public meeting? I offered to have a private meeting about this."

Cavaco replied that the private meting was unable to take place because his and Kirby's schedules conflicted. Kirby then said the two could find a time to meet. Cavaco agreed, and said he would call Kirby to arrange a meeting time while the agenda item was tabled. 

Emcee of Seekonk October 11, 2012 at 11:05 AM
"Should Francis Cavaco be calling out a newspaper reporter in public?" No. Particularly, Joe Siegel who has reported on the town for many years without a problem. Cavaco and McLintock are intimidating and they enjoy the role. So happy Mike Kirby was there to take Joe's part.
paul October 11, 2012 at 11:25 AM
Attention Seekonk Voters, is this what you want? Do we want our Chairman of the Board acting like this? Are we still in Seekonk High School? No one cares what was said by a beat reporter in August, except Francis Cavaco. This is a waste of time and embarrassing to our town. He is also playing into the Sun Chronicle hands. If you are in public service, people are going to say things about you and if you can't take it you should get out. In this case voters should boot him out in April.
Joe October 11, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Some people just do not like it when the truth comes out and the public is able to read about it. If you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen. Oh wait, he can't get out of the kitchen, he has unfinished business in Seekonk. Can't wait to see what that is.
Carol Bragg October 11, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Thanks, Mike Kirby, for setting a professional standard -- one that the Town of Seekonk would do well to adopt. There should be no public humiliation of anyone by the Seekonk Board of Selectmen. It's good to see a supervisor stand up for his employees and insist that this not occur.
Michael Davis October 11, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Seriously, do you read The Chronicle's coverage of Seekonk? Joe Siegel is no longer a neutral observer. He is an advocate for David Saad and his crew. Kirby has to defend his employee, but maybe he should also read his own newspaper and he might find out why selectmen are calling out his "beat reporter." We have so few news sources in Seekonk these days, we need to be able to hear from neutral reporters. We have enough advocates in this town.
Carol Bragg October 11, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Whether the reporter has a bias has nothing to do with how one handles the issue. The professional way for the Selectmen to address issues with journalists or with town employees is to have private discussions. As for bias, we all have bias and we accuse others of bias if they raise issues that make us uncomfortable. Choosing what to cover and what not to cover inevitably conveys bias. That's the risk with freedom of the press.
Michael Davis October 11, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Carol, if it weren't for you quitting on the people of Seekonk, Cavaco (a two-time election loser) would not have had a special election to win and then cruise as an "incumbent" into the next election. So if you consider him to be a problem, it's a problem you created. On the subject of bias, I agree everybody has some bias. Joe goes beyond bias. He is an advocate writing press releases for David Saad, not news articles. The people of Seekonk deserve better.
Amy October 11, 2012 at 03:38 PM
When anyone runs for office and or holds a public office they're fair game for the press. Good or bad that's just the way it is. We all know The Sun Chronicle is liberal. They don't hide it. If you're scrutinized by the press and answer tough questions, it'll make you a better candidate and better at your job. There's no whining allowed. The Sun Chronicle is very good at covering local events and I appreciate them as well as the Patch.
Emcee of Seekonk October 11, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Seems odd that after all these years that Siegel suddenly works for Saad. I think Joe Siegel is looking into a can of worms filled with the recent election and quarrels among the BOS. I've just waded through a number of Siegel's columns (they're all there on the internet) and I find that he was simply reporting what he witnessed, quotes and all. If you, Michael, want to point at something in particular, why don't you do a 'cut and paste' so that we'll all be informed.
Joe October 11, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Amy the Sun Chronicle is the only one that covers the local events. It is very rare that you see something in the Providence or Pawtucket papers about Seekonk. Lets hope the Sun Chronicle keeps up the good work. Some people don't want to answer the tough questions because it could possibly come back to haunt them.
Carol Bragg October 11, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Where did I say Mr. Cavaco is a problem? Others have said so. I have not. I may criticize a particular behavior by members of the Board of Selectmen, but I don't personalize nor do I describe the person or persons as problems. Perhaps you're misreading what's written in The Sun Chronicle. I wasn't aware that Mr. Siegel is writing press releases for Mr. Saad. I doubt that's true.
Lynne Jacobs October 12, 2012 at 12:51 AM
Mr. Davis, I read every article the Chronicle prints about Seekonk. Can you direct me to one article that Mr. Siegel has written that would make one believe he's in Mr. Saad's pocket? Mr. Siegel is one of the fairest reporters I've known. He's very respectful and has never shown a bias. I wish people that opine here - do so with facts
Allison October 12, 2012 at 01:58 AM
I wish the Chronicle would have more articles on Seekonk. T'here is plenty of material and plenty of interesting characters. I don't understand why the Board of Selectmen tried to make it a topic on the agenda. Maybe some people don't like reading about themselves. They see themselves above it all and having all the answers. Go Joe!!!
Michael Davis October 12, 2012 at 11:28 AM
I'm assuming you don't know that many reporters.
Carol Bragg October 12, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Every other newspaper has given up on Seekonk. Let's hope that The Sun Chronicle doesn't even if there are those on the Board of Selectmen who may prefer that the paper not cover the BOS. If readers disagree with coverage or points of view, they can always write letters to the editor or op ed pieces, stop reading the paper, or start another newspaper.
Joe October 12, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Perhaps Mr Cavaco feels that he was misquoted because he does not have very good command of the english language. It is hard sometimes to understand what he is saying or trying to read from a piece of paper.

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