Friday, December 28, 2007

Nothing personal

I see the editors are getting the predictable response from our paper's recent editorial on outgoing District Attorney Don Williams' role with Ulster County after he leaves office next week.

An editorial as sharply written as was that one is bound to stoke the flames. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, newspapers want their editorials to get a rise out of readers.

Naturally, some letter writers took us to task, others patted us on the back.

But those who saw the editorial as "a personal attack," or part of a supposed "grudge" the newspaper has against Williams are out to lunch.

Nobody here dislikes Don Williams. My personal interaction with him always has been favorable. We've had cordial conversations at the golf club, at a dinner at which we both were speakers, even at physical therapy when we were both recovering from surgeries.

Don Williams is a good guy and, from what I'm told by people who pay close attention, he did an overall respectable job as district attorney.

The Freeman hasn't always agreed with Williams on its editorial page. But that's the way it goes when you're in the public eye. You take the good with the bad. Best I can tell, Williams has handled the editorial board's occasional jabs better than many local officials have when they were under the gun. Maybe it has something to do with him being a career prosecutor.

I don't doubt Williams was unhappy with the paper's stance on his immediate life after the District Attorney's Office. But I'm betting he didn't take the criticism as a personal attack. He's been around the block long enough to know it wasn't.
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