TU Reporter Liberatore Responds To Blogger On Renovation Issue

On Friday I received a response from Wendy Liberatore  to my email to her which I posted in a recent blog and which I reproduce below.  I think Ms. Liberatore deserves a great deal of credit for engaging in a discussion on the coverage of the Finance Department’s renovations issue here.

I continue to disagree with Ms. Liberatore on the coverage of the issue but I think the matter has been pretty thoroughly discussed, so I am simply posting her response without further comment.


My Original Email To Ms. Liberatore

From: John Kaufmann <>
Date: Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 8:57 PM
To: Wendy Liberatore <wliberatore@timesunion.com>
Subject: Study By Architects

Per your recent blog, I have reviewed the study done by the architects for the proposed renovations to the Finance Office in Saratoga Springs.   They seem to me to be extremely thoughtful in their attempt to improve the offices of the Finance Department to make them both more efficient and to better serve the staff in doing their work.  Your original article and headlines like ““Taxpayers On Hook For $750K” strongly communicate that there was something improper in these plans that was newsworthy.  Could you take the time to email me what it is in the study by the architects that you found problematic?  The Facebook headline for your article stated “Finance chief Michele Madigan’s budget request includes a private bathroom, a new ceiling, and a kitchenette for her use”.  Could you please cite the section of this document that would support this statement.  Let me note that it would seem highly disingenuous to argue that these headlines would not lead the public to believe that these amenities were for the Commissioner’s personal use rather than for everyone in the department.

I look forward to your response.


Ms. Liberatore’s Response

From: “Liberatore, Wendy D” <wliberatore@timesunion.com>
Date: 09/23/2016 9:37 AM (GMT-05:00)
To: John Kaufmann <j>
Subject: Re: Study By Architects

Dear John,

The details you described were amended in the article to state the bathroom was for her and her staff. The original post mentioned the ceiling would be restored and that there was a kitchenette. It did not mention “for her use” in connection with the kitchenette, only the bathroom.

This is what has been printed and has been online.

http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Saratoga-Springs-finance-chief-wants-750-000-9227194.php

We even printed one article on her defense of the project:

http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Commissioner-defends-750K-in-renovations-for-9236043.php

Here are the blog posts, which allowed the public to weigh in:

http://blog.timesunion.com/saratogaseen/finance-office-renovations-will-cost-taxpayers-750000/27933/

http://blog.timesunion.com/saratogaseen/read-the-specs-for-finance-commissioners-750k-renovations-project/27956/

In every instance, Madigan’s point-of-view was clearly stated. We feel that she has been treated fairly in this matter.

As for the headline, that was the editor’s choice.

We did the story because we all felt that the price tag was high and that taxpayers would be interested in how their money was being spent.

I don’t believe there is anything in these articles that is factually erroneous.

Thanks for reading and taking the time to write to me.

— Wendy Liberatore
Times Union

518-454-5445

518-491-0454

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