The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

NO QUESTION - Commissioners State Confidence in Hausmann's Ability


November 10, 2017

An inflammatory headline and incomplete quotations this week led to a false indication about Cheyenne County Visitors Center Director Heather Hausmann.

The headline, in Wednesday’s Sun-Telegraph, falsely stated that Hausmann was under the scrutiny of the Cheyenne County Commissioners.

Hausmann’s part in the discussion at Monday’s Commissioner’s meeting was a side note in an agenda item looking at the Cheyenne County Tourism Board’s budget. The Commissioners, along with Tourism Board board member Hal Enevoldsen, were examining the board’s budget and to a lesser extent, staffing and whether the board could afford another part-timer.

As part of the staffing discussion, questions arose on a point where the Visitors Center is sometimes closed during the day when Hausmann is gone and a part time employee isn’t enough to cover.

The report correctly quoted Enevoldsen as saying Hausmann is “gone from the office a lot,” leaving the impression that the director was in some way not taking care of the center as she should. But in follow up interviews with Enevoldsen and County Commissioners Randy Miller and Philip Sanders, all said Enevoldsen’s statement went on to say that Hausmann was gone performing her duties in promoting Cheyenne County and on other official business.

“At no time did we (commissioners) say anything about Heather’s performance,” Miller said “Heather is doing a great job and her job is not in jeopardy. I would rate her a 9 out of 10, she does such a fantastic job.”

In speaking with the Sun-Telegraph Wednesday, Sanders echoed many of his fellow commissioner’s thoughts, adding “I’m tickled pink to have her there.”

In reviewing the situation, Sun-Telegraph Publisher Don Ogle said he regrets the circumstances and apologized for the bad impressions the story made.

“I especially apologize to Heather for the doubt cast on her performance and abilities,” Ogle said. “Heather is a crucial cog in the outreach for making Sidney a better place to live and visit. We need her to remain where she is and I hope this unfortunate error doesn’t discourage either her, or anyone who works with her.

“I also apologize to the County Commissioners and to Hal and the Tourism Board. It is our job to accurately report what happens at public meetings and we failed horribly in this matter. We are dedicated to serving you and the entire county the best we can and will take every step possible to assure local interests are accurately reported.”


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