By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Dan Totten addresses charges

The following e-mail, dated Friday, was sent by Boston Newspaper Guild president Dan Totten to Guild members. (The Boston Herald’s Jessica Heslam has been posting Guild communications as well.) Media Nation obtained a copy of Totten’s e-mail a short time ago.

Dear Boston Newspaper Guild Member;

The matter raised suddenly yesterday was in regard to a question regarding a counter-signature on my personal weekly paycheck. When this matter was originally discussed, I promptly provided an answer to our union Executive Committee. This matter was resolved to the satisfaction of the Executive Committee last Friday, September 18, 2009.

Now, there are those who are engaging in a political vendetta as a result of the hard feelings that remain in our Union following our contentious contract negotiation. While nobody could be happy with the outcome of what the NYT did to every member, some members who were not happy with the outcome of negotiations are manipulating a simple matter, in an attack against me.

I am prepared to address whatever questions anyone might have, according to our union’s process. I am dismayed and angered that these disgruntled individuals are seeking to discredit me publicly, but I must put the interest of our Union first, and will do so.

I look forward to resolving this matter swiftly and assure our membership that there has been no financial impropriety.

Again, all union funds remain intact and have always been so. The Boston Newspaper Guild does an excellent job of managing the funds that we are entrusted with, a fact I am certain will be clear to all once the review process is completed.

Daniel B. Totten
Boston Newspaper Guild
TNG – CWA Local 31245

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  1. lkcape

    Hmmmmm….. A smoking water pistol it would seem.

  2. bostonmediawatch

    What kind of weirdo doesn’t do direct deposit?

    And either this guy has a huge salary, or things are really, really tight over on Morrissey Blvd.

    How small a check requires 2 signatures?


  3. O-FISH-L

    Many unions and other entities require two signatures on all checks. This protects against embezzlement or other internal theft, etc.

    Who knows if direct deposit is even available at the Guild, and if it is, why the anti-choice stance? To borrow the credo of another group, “keep your hands off my paycheck.” To label someone a “weirdo” is both premature and immature. I imagine the Guild payroll is relatively small and may even be handwritten or generated by Quickbooks or one of the over-the-counter basic payroll programs. These are not always compatible with direct deposit.

    Again, I think the question comes back to whether the person whose name was signed in absentia, was aware and approving of it. If he/she was, then this is witch hunt. If he/she wasn’t aware, but Totten was merely writing a check for money he was entitled to, more serious but not the end of the world. Only if Totten was embezzling money is the harsh publicity against him justified. Again, I never met the man but the presumption of innocence remains with him.

    • Dan Kennedy

      The presumption of innocence is a legal principle; we are free to conclude otherwise. That said, I have yet to see a single piece of information that moves me either toward or away from believing Totten did anything wrong. At the moment, we are dealing with an allegation without any publicly disclosed evidence.

  4. mike_b1

    Weekly paychecks are an expensive way to go. I’m surprised they haven’t switched to biweekly or monthly.

  5. charles pierce

    Dan —
    The presumption of innocence is a legal principle, but it’s also a damned helpful one if we’re going to do this job right. I’ve read too much “opinion journalism” — to say nothing of too much “citizen journalism” — that relies on the far less ethical principles of “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” There’s no reason we should lower our standards to those of talk-radio.

    • Dan Kennedy

      There’s no reason we should lower our standards to those of talk-radio.

      Or the Globe, the Herald, television news, etc., etc. Ask Dianne Wilkerson, Chuck Turner and Sal DiMasi.

  6. lkcape

    There is another legal principle that comes into play when one ignores the presumption of innocence when writing about a person in a situation.

    You are, I am sure, well aware of that principle.

  7. InsiderNegot

    Totten claims that the matter was settled to the Executive Board’s satisfaction previous to the public exposure. If that is true, and the other person/persons involved were present at that meeting and didn’t speak up, well then he was at the least back-stabbed. In any event, you cannot do what he did, so as Fish said, serious but not the end of the world. The way this is gooing the entire leadership team may have to go in order to restore the members’ confidence. Look for the CWA-TNG National Union to get involved.

  8. lkcape

    Hmmmmm…. if, indeed, the Exec Board resolves this matter before eposure, we get back to:

    a) The question of the motive of the leaker, and

    b) The idea of Dan being used as a stooge for some political vendetta.

  9. InsiderNegot

    This Blog was hardly the only place to learn of this news.

  10. mike_b1

    “This Blog was hardly the only place to learn of this news.”

    Unless, of course, you live to opine on the Globe without actually reading the Globe.

  11. lkcape

    Ok… just one of several stooges.

    • Dan Kennedy

      This probably goes without saying. But I just want to point out how dense you have to be to think a media blogger shouldn’t post all available information about publicly made accusations of corruption involving the president of the biggest union at New England’s largest newspaper — a president who has been in the news for months, both locally and nationally.

  12. lkcape

    Perhaps that is way a media blogger was selected as a recipient of a politically motivated leak.

  13. Treg

    Dan, ignore the troll!

  14. lkcape

    Facts are facts, Treg.

  15. scruff

    Don’t see the point of the argument Ikcape. Article was published in Globe and Herald with both quoting emails. Emails are legitimate and widely circulated at Globe. Hardly would call them leaked. Newspapers are bad place to keep a secret. Dan’s blog is a good place to read about media. All makes sense regardless of who sent note, doesn’t it?

  16. lkcape

    Not if the facts don’t support the allegations… which is coming more apparent as the details dribble out.

  17. Describe a time when you simply had too much to do and you needed help. ,

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