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

New Haven Public Schools spokesman resigns

Word came last night that Chris Hoffman — the New Haven Public Schools spokesman who grabbed New Haven Independent managing editor Melissa Bailey’s video camera, berated her and could be heard dropping an F-bomb on school property — has resigned.

Hoffman made nearly $79,000, and though I’ve been told he is fundamentally a good guy, he clearly was out of his element in a job that taxpayers probably shouldn’t have been asked to pay for in the first place.

Here’s another account of the incident, by Mary O’Leary of the New Haven Register.

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  1. Mike Benedict

    It does seem excessive to have a spokesperson for a bunch of principals.

  2. Mike Coughlin

    @Dan, I’m glad you posted the followup story on the resignation because it puts Mr. Hoffman’s admittedly unprofessional behavior in a slightly different light. When I read Ms. Bailey’s piece I thought the confrontation happened as soon as she arrived at the school. Only upon reading the follow up was it clear that it happened after she’d been given the opportunity to conduct her interview. While reporters may not like to have PR flaks in the room when they conduct interviews its been standard procedure for a long time.

    He lost his cool only when Ms. Bailey decided to film him and make him a part of the story. She probably could have conducted her interview and received the information she wanted with Hoffman sitting in the back of the room. And I question Ms. Bailey’s assertion that his presence impacted her relationship with teachers and students. I wonder what “relationship” a reporter might expect to have directly with students anyway?

    I am sympathetic to Mr. Hoffman because I’ve been in his position. Early in my career as a public employee, media relations were part of my job responsibilities. The Director wanted me to be present when staff were interviewed to ensure the agency was treated fairly. I always tried to be deferential to the reporter and didn’t insert myself into the story.

    As best I can tell Hoffman didn’t insert himself into the story until Ms. Bailey decided to turn the camera on him and make him part of it. The guy was there to do his job. He blew it big time but I feel for him.

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