All I'm interested in is "fairness."
I've been with the Flyer for six years now and I've almost led the team to several national awards. This year, we even made the "elite eight" of alternative papers. I've recruited top talent -- Cashiola, Herrington, Davis, Phillips, Popper -- and I've kept our key veterans -- Branston and Baker -- happy by giving them enough playing time in the paper. It's not easy juggling all those egos and all that talent, believe me.
And I think the advertising staff would tell you I've been a prince -- easy to work with and principled but flexible about special sections and titty-bar ads. And just ask the art department what a fine person I am -- funny, yet focused like a laser on putting out the best-looking paper in the Mid-South. They know I feel their pain at deadline.
I put on the coat and tie and mingle with corporate bigwigs at company functions and never complain. I've been an exemplary employee in every way. Heck, publisher Ken Neill takes me out to dinner at Ronnie Grisanti's every week and tells me how happy he is to have me. But, as everyone knows, money talks; linguini walks.
Lord knows, I don't want to leave Memphis. It's become my home. The people here have been great to me and to my family. I've got a huge house in a fancy neighborhood just a couple minutes from work. My kids go to school here.
But fair is fair. An alternative paper in North Carolina has offered to pay me $2 million a year to take over as their editor. I only make $1.2 million here at the Flyer. I ask you, How the hell am I supposed to support a family on that pittance?
All I'm asking is that the Flyer play fair by matching the offer. (And I want my managing editor compensated fairly as well.) I don't need a jet -- FedEx will fly me wherever I need to go. But I do expect fair play.
The publisher of the North Carolina paper flew in this weekend and made me an offer I'd like to refuse. I mean, I'm a loyal guy, but what can I do? Just say no outright? Say I'm grateful for all Memphis and this company have done for me and my family? Walk away from more money?
C'mon. Play fair. Get the stockholders together and come up with something a little more reasonable. I'll see you at Ronnie's, Ken. We've got some talking to do.
Bruce VanWyngarden, Editor
My stepdaughter, Agatha, has moved back from Brooklyn to live in our garage apartment until next summer. She's a law school grad and clerking for a federal judge in Memphis. I love her dearly, but she has one habit that has caused me stress. She takes in foster dogs ...