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What's the story with Richard Spires?

Richard Spires

Richard Spires, CIO of DHS. (FCW photo)

To our story on Department of Homeland Security CIO Richard Spires taking leave, an anonymous reader asked, When did FCW morph into a gossip column?

Frank Konkel responds: I find the comment ironic, because what we did in that article is the opposite of a gossip column.

The story started when another publication posted a story early on April 1 that Spires was “Put on immediate ‘on leave’ status” by DHS. Quickly, the rumor mill fired up – on Facebook and Twitter, not to mention many reporters’ e-mail inboxes – and the story took on legs of its own.

We set out to determine what was rumor and what was true. We found that while the details of Spires’ leave remain murky – DHS officials cannot comment on personnel matters and Spires hasn’t responded to our attempts to make contact – many possibilities exist.

So we reported what we knew to be true: That Spires was on elected – not forced -- leave, that DHS Deputy CIO Margie Graves was installed as acting CIO and that Spires’ leave had nothing to do with congressional testimony Spires missed in March, as some people had speculated.

Because the rumors were flying, we thought it appropriate to outline potential scenarios where a CIO might take leave that go beyond a simple vacation. We also explained the differences between elected leave and administrative leave, an important distinction that many people seemed to be missing.

That isn’t gossiping. That is clearing up rumors with facts and explaining to a large federal IT community what actually was happening to the best of our ability.

Posted by Frank Konkel on Apr 03, 2013 at 12:10 PM


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