Albemarle County Supervisor Chris Dumler was arrested on felony sex charges last week and now, local news organizations can hardly report about anything else. But what is there to say? Besides the news of the charges, Dumler has a need to stay out of the spotlight. Yesterday, the Newsplex reported that Dumler has canceled public appearances and the community waits to see if he will emerge to address his constituency, particularly in a board of supervisors meeting scheduled for November 7.
There is a distinct difference between a public figure and one who holds elected office, when crisis communications is needed. A public figure can remove themselves from society for a cooling-off period. An elected official will, at some point, be forced to address his or her constituency, particularly to either resign or express intent to continue in his or her public role. People think they have the right to know the truth in a crisis and demand transparency from those in the public eye. They don’t always get what they want.
There have been notable examples of people (politicians and celebrities) who have successfully emerged, over time, with reputations restored or, at least, forgiven or newly accepted by the community. Robert Downey Jr., Charlie Sheen, Bill Clinton, Winona Ryder, Gary Hart, Sarah Ferguson — it’s a long list. It remains to be seen how Lance Armstrong will emerge from his own reputation crisis, but we’ll be watching that, too.
It CAN be done, but not without damage done, amends made and a debt served either publicly or in a judicial sense.
From last night’s broadcast:
Update: 10:37am Thursday, October 25, 2012