It was definitely a gaffe, but there was nothing to explain why an online report in the Rye Record last Thursday morning matter of factly reported the appointment of Julia Killian to the vacant seat of former councilmember Suzanna Keith. There was no appointment.
After several readers noticed the erroneous announcement, it was deleted from the online and print version of the article titled "Suzanna Keith Passes the Mantle." There was no comment on the Rye Record site about the deletion by author Robin Jovanovich.
Rye Record reader and political consultant Don Sutherland of Mamaroneck, commenting on a Rye Patch story, said Wednesday "The Record recognized the error and retracted the story."
The Associated Press Stylebook does not recommend a specific convention for acknowledging errors and retractions, every publication determines its own traditions for handling corrections and retractions as well as how and whether such changes will be publicy acknowledged.
Rye Patch sent an email asking author Jovanovich about the article's alteration but did not receive a reply. In subsequent days, comments following the online version of the article were deleted and closed.
On its own, there was nothing in the article itself to indicate the announcement had been anything more than an error. It occurred in a context that seemed unsettling for some.
On May 24, after seeing the report, Charmian Neary sent a screenshot of the original report to Mayor French and all the members of the council expressing her frustration with the appearance of unfairness the erroneous announcement caused. "Should I bother writing up my resume as requested? Do you wonder why nobody believes the process was an open one?" her email asked rhetorically.
Without commenting on the article, Mayor Doug French said on May 25 that "the appointment will happen on June 13" acknowledging both Killian and Neary's interest. When asked whether the question of filling the vacancy had been settled and the matter of an appointment was definite, French said "...no. The Council will deliberate on the matter at the meeting of the 13th."
Regarding the emergence of a third person, French said, "Jason stepped forward over the weekend and will also be considered." French did not address whether additional persons would be considered.