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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Peter Duffy to do something or another for Peter Kelly

Former Herald columnist to work directly for the Mayor = ridiculousness squared

Posted By on Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 1:33 PM

Update, 2 September, 2009: Coast listings editor Holly Gordon has discovered Duffy's "raped by a ghost" columns archived, here.

I often dream of doing an April Fool's Day all-satire version of The Coast, with utterly ridiculous articles throughout. Problem is, reality trumps anything we could come up with. Today, there's this news:

A former columnist with The Chronicle Herald will soon be working for Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly.

Peter Duffy is to start a six-month contract as a community liaison co-ordinator for the mayor’s office on Sept. 14.

"When I left the Herald on that . . . day on March 19, I didn’t think of it as a retirement," Mr. Duffy, 66, said in an interview.

"I’m still energized. I’m not ready to sit home yet with my slippers on watching daytime TV."

Mr. Duffy said his responsibilities will include writing speeches, news releases and reports for the mayor.

"I’m putting words in someone else’s mouth," he said. "It was a chance to use my writing skills, such as they are, maybe to put back into the community, and to try something completely different. I’ve never worked in the public sector."

Neither he nor the mayor would divulge his specific pay, although Mr. Duffy said it’s at the lower end of a scale that ranges between $42,000 and $70,000.

Yep, this is the very same Peter Duffy who claims to have been anally raped by a ghost, and who won over the blue hair set with such groundbreaking journalism as a trip to Hooters and a positive interview with racist Jared Taylor.

Such brilliance will now be putting words in the mouth of Peter Kelly.

Beyond the stupidity of that hire, just how many communications people does the city need? I put that question to Shaune MacKinlay, HRM's manager of public affairs and herself a recent hire to the city, and she went into a long explanation about how the dozens of "communications" personnel employed by HRM have a variety of job assignments, from writing recreation brochures to stuffing your tax bill envelopes to, well, all sorts of shit. Good enough.

But, I ask, "what about Peter Kelly?"

"You mean Peter Duffy?" she asks.

"Right, sorry."

"Don't mix up your Peters."

"Um, thanks."

In any event, MacKinlay explains that Peter Duffy works directly for Peter Kelly, and Duffy's salary comes out of the mayoral office budget, not from the budget for HRM communications.

Kelly may in fact have a communications problem, but it's not in the style or formation of his words. Kelly's speech impediment is part of the appeal that gets him reelected, and I certainly don't think he should hide from it---good on him for achieving what he has with it.

No, Kelly's problem isn't the style of his communication; it's the substance of it---or lack of it. Until he can rise above the knee-jerk reliance on secrecy and finger-in-the-wind politicking, all the ghostly help in the world won't help him.

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