We got a news release from our new Secretary of State, Jason Kander, at 8:14 this morning announcing that he was going to have a press conference (okay, so it was a PRESS release) in ST. LOUIS at 10:30. He was going to discuss the Cease and Desist Order issued by the Securities Division of his office against Morgan Keegan & Company, which has not existed for a year since being taken over by Raymond James, another financial advisory firm.
The release said the order is related to the failure of the Mamtek sweetener project in MOBERLY. Morgan Keegan/Raymond James is headquartered in MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE.
Some of our colleagues on the Capitol press corps are baffled by our Secretary of State on this one. Why is he going to St. Louis to announce actions against a company from Tennessee instead of going to—does this seem to make more sense—MOBERLY, MISSOURI?
We understand that this could involve some kind of action Kander is filing in the federal district court in St. Louis, which we suppose is some justification for doing a news conference there. But two hours and 15 minutes notice is pretty tight scheduling. We’re sure this is not a spur-of-the moment decision by Kander and his staff. Surely there must have been a little thought behind the scheduling of the event and then scheduling the announcement of the schedule for the event.
(UPDATE: The Secretary of State’s office emailed us back 15 minutes after the St. Louis press conference began–while this reporter was enduring the Senate that had started meeting at 10– to let us know “Secretary Kander was in St. Louis today for other meetings. Having the conference there was just a matter of scheduling.” That’s understandable although it might be suggested that there are occasions when place is more important than time when it comes to scheduling. He has done interviews with several other mid-Missouri reporters today. So we will sit down to talk about this when he rolls back into Jefferson City late this afternoon and we’ll have something for our affiliates in places like Mobelry, Mexico, Macon, Columbia, and Marshall tomorrow morning. We appreciate that effort to reach out although the story will have cooled somewhat by then. But it is a welcome gesture. Now back to our previously-scheduled programming.)
Would it make more sense, do you suppose, to make the announcement in the city that has been badly hurt by the Mamtek debacle than in a city where a story datelined “Moberly” has to be pretty sensational to make page five of the Post-Dispatch? Would it make more sense to do a news conference in central Missouri, covered by TV stations, newspapers, and other news agencies that have covered the Mamtek mess for three years? Would it make more sense to go to the city that was hurt by the entire thing to announce you were going after one of the bad guys that had hurt them so badly?
Of course, if you had a news conference in the area where all of this happened, you might be asked about something else by reporters who’ve been waiting to talk to you since, oh, last Friday about your planned firings (oops, we forgot the word your office prefers to use is “layoffs,” a distinction we’re sure the people being fir—laid off–truly appreciate) at the state library that the Missouri Library Association says was a total surprise to librarians throughout Missouri. They appreciate the vaguely-worded statement, not from you but from your information control office about using those resources to provide more services to local libraries. But they wish you had consulted with local libraries first to see what kind of services they need.
But we do thank Kander’s office for letting us know he was going to make this announcement about 120 miles from Jefferson City, in St. Louis, about a Tennessee company that is being blamed for a major economic collapse in a city sixty miles from Jefferson City that is still dealing directly with what he’s going to St. Louis to announce about a Tennessee company.
So we probably should be grateful even if the media in and near Mamtek Ground Zero weren’t invited to talk to him until later.