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Full disclosure should have been provided

Letters from Jan Burton and Bob Olson in today's (Oct. 28) Reader Opinion section of the Brainerd Dispatch took exception with the lack of disclosure on an editorial in the Oct. 19 Dispatch regarding statements Crow Wing County Commissioner Paul ...

Letters from Jan Burton and Bob Olson in today's (Oct. 28) Reader Opinion section of the Brainerd Dispatch took exception with the lack of disclosure on an editorial in the Oct. 19 Dispatch regarding statements Crow Wing County Commissioner Paul Koering made during a recent county board Committee of the Whole meeting.

Specifically, the Dispatch editorial took Koering to task for saying, "Really, I'd prefer the media not be there, because we can talk more freely," Koering said. "I'm not trying to hide anything, but we can talk more freely. If there's three of us together, we can't have a conversation. ... We can't even discuss things and have a freewheeling kind of open conversation while trying to figure out what's best for the county."

This Dispatch editorial board stands behind its editorial, that freedom of the press and Open Meeting laws should not be infringed so elected officials can talk more freely.

Burton's and Olson's contention was that the editorial concerning Koering's statements didn't include a disclaimer that Koering is running in the Nov. 4 election against my wife, Deborah Erickson, for the position of Crow Wing County Auditor-Treasurer.

They are both correct. Though the editorial concerned Koering's capacity as a county commissioner and not his candidacy for auditor-treasurer, a clarifying statement should have been included with it.

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The editorial in question was written by Associate Editor Mike O'Rourke. The topic was broached at an editorial board at which I was present (as were all members of the board) but I did not have any input into either the discussion on Koering's comments or the editorial that followed.

The Editorial Board stands behind the editorial. However, it should have included the disclosure of my wife's candidacy for the same office Koering is seeking.

Matt Erickson

Dispatch editor

Opinion by Matt Erickson
Matt Erickson joined the Brainerd Dispatch in 2000 as a reporter, covering crime and courts and the city of Brainerd. In 2012 he was promoted to night editor and in 2014 was promoted to editor of the newspaper.
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