Tuesday, February 3, 2009

"off the record..."

Charlie's retiring. Charlie Loucks is the "key" reporter for the Ft. Myers Beach Observer. Charlie started writing for the Observer in 1999. For awhile in 2008, he worked as Editor, a promotion that he accepted, and then subsequently declined in ordor to return to reporting.

I had been a beach resident years before 1999, but only came to work for the Town in 2000. That's when my interaction with Charlie began. Back then, I was Marsha's assistant, and Charlie and I had occasional interaction.

Back then, the town manager was the town clerk. As the assistant to the town manager, I was assistant to the town clerk, and assumed those duties . Those duties included responding to public records requests. As a reporter, Charlie made frequent records' requests, to which I responded.

In May, 2006, I became the town clerk, and Charlie and my relationship enhanced.

One of the beauties of dealing with Charlie was the way he protected his sources. If he can teach anything to his succesor, or pass along any of his successes, it would be how he protected his sources. He would call with a bite, and ask for a bite. "How do you know?" I would ask. "You know I can't say!" he would respond. I tested him, and he never failed me. Marks of a Damned Good News Hound.

Yesterday, in a public meeting, the Town Council recognized Charlie with a proclamation, and a plaque in appreciation for his ten years of dedication. It brought him close to tears. (We should have pushed him to tears! lol!)

Tomorrow is his retirement gathering. It's at the local office, from 3:00-5:00 pm. It has been said that Charlie is one of two people who 'knows where the bodies are buried.' I intend to arrive early, and offer to Charlie, a bare bones, "off the record" honest answer to any one question. ONE QUESTION, AND ONE ANSWER!!!
What would you like to ask me, Charlie??

I chuckle to myself thinking of those days and those conversations: "

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