Denise Tyrrell, spokeswoman for the Southern California transit agency Metrolink, resigned after federal and Metrolink officials criticized the statement she made the day after an agency commuter train collided with a freight train in Chatworth, Calif.
Tyrrell said that the Metrolink engineer had "made the error" and had not obeyed the traffic signals. Officials have since said that the statement was premature.
The Los Angeles Times reports:
Before facing reporters the day after the catastrophic train collision in Chatsworth, Metrolink spokeswoman Denise Tyrrell called the agency's chief executive to make an unusual request.
"I asked him to allow me to make a statement to rebuild public trust," she recalled, "and I told him we had to be honest and upfront about what happened."
Tyrrell's open emotion was widely noted in media accounts over the weekend. I'm wondering if readers believe she did her job by being "honest and upfront," or should she have held the details a bit closer to the vest?
Here's a take from the MetroRiderLA blog:
The Public Relations Society of America's Code of Ethics stresses the need to advocate informed debate, to be honest with the public, and to be loyal to the CEO, David Solow, to whom she works for. Unfortunately, many public relations professionals don't care about "free flow of information," "disclosure of information," or "enhancing the profession." But Ms. Tyrrell did, and for that, I, and many other Southern Californians who ride the rails, are grateful for it.
And another from Michael Cherenson, chair-elect of the PR society and a PR executive:
Public Relations Professionals are expected, "adhere to the highest standards of accuracy and truth in advancing the interests of those we represent and in communicating with the public." and it would seem, based on available information, that former Metrolink spokeswoman Denise Tyrrell did just that and had the authority to do it.
If you're a critic, bear in mind that crisis management is easiest in hindsight.