Friday, November 7, 2014

Parks' Top Flack Out After Offensive Remarks - Calls Reporters "Illiterate"


by Geoffrey Croft

Arthur Pincus, who headed up the Parks Department's press office, has been unceremoniously shown the door, NYC Park Advocates has learned. 

Mr. Pincus was forced out of his $132,000 job as the department's assistant commissioner of communications after 19 months.

Yesterday was his last day.  

The move comes after Parks Commissioner Silver learned of offensive remarks he allegedly made regarding the media during a meeting several weeks ago with union officials.

Representatives from Local 983 who represent Park Enforcement Patrol officers and other titles, attended the meeting at the Arsenal, the Parks Department headquarters in Central Park.

They raised issues regarding Parks Department senior management and the press office's regular misrepresentation of the responsibly of PEP officers as well as exaggerating their numbers in the field.

For years park officials
 including Liam Kavanagh have attempted to minimize the policing role of PEP by referring to them simply as "eyes and ears."

When a union official questioned two recent articles, one in Queens and the other in the Bronx, Mr. Pincus went on a rant saying that reporters are "illiterate" and "they lie," according to sources who attended the meeting.  

Pincus said if they weren't reporters they wouldn't even be able to get a Parks Department job.

He went on to explain that reporters recycle information from past articles and don't bother to reach out to the press office to update it.  

When union reps said they were going to fact check those last two articles, he allegedly shot back, "I don't give a shit."

"They have this plantation mentality," said a person who attended the meeting.

 "They do what they want. There are no repercussions. I couldn't believe how he was speaking. He really belittled reporters," the source said.

"They consistently undermine the role of PEP. They don't want to acknowledge what they do or give them credit. Our employees really believe in what they are doing,  I mean look at what they are paid,   and these guys constantly belittle them and they get away with it."

Parks Commissioner Silver was made aware of Mr. Pincus' most recent behavior on October 31st and then again on Wednesday.   

He was gone the following day. 

"The sooner Adrain's (former Parks Commissioner Benepe) legacy is extinguished the better," said an attendee of the meeting.  

"Parks is thankful for Arthur Pincus' dedicated service to the department, and we wish him well in his future endeavors," a spokeswoman told Capital New York.

Pincus formerly served as the Vice President of Public Relations for the National Hockey League, Sports Editor of The Washington Post, and Deputy Sports Editor of The New York Times.

The press department was routinely criticized by reporters for its general lack of professionalism during the Bloomberg/Benepe years, including its well-deserved reputation for being defensive, unhelpful, and often giving out misleading information. 

Reporters routinely complained about the treatment they received under two previous heads of the Parks' press office, Vickie Karp and Warner Johnson.

This article has been updated.

Capital New York  - November 7, 2014 - By Sally Goldenberg

No comments:

Post a Comment