Failure to Disclose Williamson Inc. as a Co-Sponsor of the June 2 School Board Candidate Forum: Oversight or Set Up?

Posted by in Williamson Inc.

What was originally presented as a school board candidate forum sponsored by Home Page Media Group is now being billed as a partnership between Williamson Inc. and the Home Page.

We can’t help but wonder why Williamson Inc.’s involvement wasn’t disclosed to all the candidates when the Home Page asked them to participate.

Having obtained commitments from the candidates, it now comes out that—surprise!—this is a joint effort, and apparently has been all along. If we were in the candidates’ shoes, we’d be wondering what’s going on and why we weren’t told about Williamson Inc.’s being a partner when the invitation was first issued. (Or were some candidates told in advance, while others were not?)

According to a Williamson Inc. press release, its PAC “was established to influence—within the confines of the law—political elections that will impact the Williamson County economy both locally and at the state level.”

We would like to believe the best, but it is hard to understand why things were handled this way if everything is on the up and up. It makes us wonder what else has not been disclosed and what other surprises may be in store for certain candidates.

This is an important election for our community, and there are substantive issues to be discussed. We sure hope the forum will be fair to all the candidates.

There is some history with the Home Page that’s worth noting. During the Home Page’s 2014 candidate forum, the moderator “mistakenly” forwarded questions to Eric Welch, the District 10 incumbent, even though according to a Home Page article the candidates had all been assured that none of them would get to see questions in advance.

We understand that mistakes can happen—even though this was a pretty amazing one—but to not be upfront with the candidates about who was behind the forum before they accepted the invitation raises our antennas.

The community deserves to hear from all the candidates without any behind-the-scenes manipulation. It’s a shame this lack of candor by Home Page and Williamson Inc. has cast a cloud over Thursday night’s forum.