Vice President & General Manager
October 6, 1997
Ms. Jane Akre
Dear Jane & Steve:
This letter is in response to your letter to me dated October 2, 1997. 1 hope that it clarifies some of the misconceptions that it appears you have following our meetings last week on Tuesday, September 30 and Thursday, October 2, 1997.
You first state that during your meeting on September 23, 1997 with Phil, he assigned you both the task of preparing two additional versions of the BGH script. Both Phil and Carolyn have confirmed for me that you were not asked to prepare two versions of the script, but rather you were asked to complete the minimal changes to part one of the script by making changes which you previously agreed were acceptable during the July 11, 1997 meeting. (The main reason you were revising part one following the July 11, 1997 meeting was because, as you and Phil agreed, part one of the script was pacing too slowly, was too long and needed to be split into two parts.) Given that the material you have been asked to reinsert was included in the draft you agreed was ready to air on July 11, it is incomprehensible to all of us that you now complain that reinserting the material will distort the story and somehow is "'Carolyn's version."
You further inaccurately state that I told you, and that Carolyn's letter confirms, that you could work during your suspension without pay, and that by doing so you could perhaps avoid being terminated for cause. You have misunderstood me, and Carolyn's letter. What we have tried to communicate is that you have been suspended without pay because everyone who works with you (Phil, Sue, Carolyn and 1, and even outside counsel) finds it a very strained and contentious process. This has resulted in an excessively long review process for a single news report that was not warranted. As a result of your actions, we were left with no choice but to suspend you without pay while we determine whether to terminate you for cause.
During your period of suspension, you may work on the series if you wish, and if you do complete the assignment, you will be paid. In other words, of course we will pay you if you work during the suspension period. However, if a worker says he or she is working when, in fact, he or she is engaging in purely personal activities, he or she should not be paid. Likewise, you will be paid only if you in fact work, in good faith, by completing the assignment.Jane, Steve, the station's practice when someone has been suspended, as you have been, is to limit the person's access to the station, it's computer files and the like. You told me last week Steve, and wrote in your October 2, 1997 letter, that you cannot continue to work on the assignment because you are being denied this access. However, it was not our intention to prevent you from working on the news series, if you so choose. You have always worked on the scripts from home, and even state in your letter that following your September 23, 1997 meeting with Phil, you "began working on the assignment the next day." Because Phil and I are not aware of your having been in the station to work prior to today, I assume that you meant that you were working on the assignment at home. If you have been working on the assignment from home, then I cannot understand your assertion now that you cannot continue to work on the assignment from home.
In any event, we want you to be able to work on the news series while you are suspended, if you choose to do so. We will be happy to print out anything from your computer files that you do not also have on your home computer and fax it to you. If you have material here at the station you need, or if you need to work here at the station, please just call Phil, and he will set up a mutually convenient time during which you both can work.Finally, Phil does not recall upromising" to call you by the end of the day. However, to reiterate what you need to do, please reinsert into part one of the script the sound-bite and the information about your expert's study that you deleted from the version of part one of the script (v. 22) that everyone agreed to on July 11, 1997. Also, please fax to Phil back-up for any new material that you added to part one that you have not already sent to him. If you choose to do a second version of the series that is drafted the way you would want to air it if this were your own private television station, you may do that as well, and Phil will, as he told you on September 23, 1997, review that version too.
I hope that this serves to clarify any misconceptions that remained.
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