With all of the talk across America about overpaid government employees, we have a prime example of outrageous compensation excess right here in Charlottesville: City Communications Director, Ric Barrick.

Expectations for Charlottesville City employees may be low, but at a salary of $93k per year (plus benefits), grammar-checking for important official dispatches should be included in the job description for “Communications Director.”

On October 11, Barrick sent a media release containing the following sentence:

Charlottesville Police is looking for the following suspect in a series of fraud cases in the City. [emphasis added]

Maybe the ninety-three-thousand-dollar man was rushed in disseminating the original information, and this error does not indicate general linguistic incompetence?

Maybe not.

In case there was any doubt about his under-qualification for the job, the next day Barrick followed his first communiqué with a second, even more embarrassing solecism:

We sent this out yesterday but probably didn’t give you enough information to consider reportable.  I have authorized to release the following on this suspect: [emphasis added]

and

The picture taken above is the suspect entering the Giant Food store in the county where he uses the victim of the larceny in the city card before she is aware of the theft. [emphasis added]

Say what!

And city taxpayers are paying nearly 100 “large” for this?

Read the full versions of Barrick’s grammatically incorrect “all points bulletins”:

From: “Barrick, Ric” <BARRICK@charlottesville.org>
Date: October 11, 2010 03:16:18 PM EDT
To: “Barrick, Ric” <BARRICK@charlottesville.org>
Subject: Fw: ID Suspect

Charlottesville Police is looking for the following suspect in a series of fraud cases in the City. Please call Crimestoppers at 977-4000 if you have information.

—– Original Message —–
From: Barrick Communications [mailto:barrickcommunications@adelphia.net]
Sent: Monday, October 11, 2010 03:13 PM
To: Barrick, Ric
Subject: ID Suspect

From: “Barrick, Ric” <BARRICK@charlottesville.org>
Date: October 12, 2010 10:45:48 AM EDT
To: “Barrick, Ric” <BARRICK@charlottesville.org>
Subject: ID Suspect

We sent this out yesterday but probably didn’t give you enough
information to consider reportable.  I have authorized to release the
following on this suspect:

This suspect is involved in many larceny cases in the city, mainly using
stolen credit cards obtained at places of business in the City of
Charlottesville.  In one particular case the suspect stole wallets in
the MJH complex and used a victim’s wallet and used the victim’s credit
cards in the county at various places therefore this will be a
city/county investigation.  The picture taken above is the suspect
entering the Giant Food store in the county where he uses the victim of
the larceny in the city card before she is aware of the theft. Any
information can be called into Crimestoppers at 977-4000 or Sgt. Brake
970-3970

8 COMMENTS

  1. Rob,
    Like you, I too have been long discouraged by the erosion of our basic writing skills in our culture. In this time of writing shortcuts spurred on by the likes of e-mail, texting, Facebook and Twitter, there does not appear to be any relief on the horizon. However, from someone earning more than $93K annually, one would expect grammatical accuracy. It begs to question whether or not the position of City Communications Director is not only overly compensated, is it over staffed as well? It is reasonable to conjecture that after the Communications Director prepares a statement, he then has the opportunity to self-edit his work with available electronic tools within any word processing program. It is also reasonable to conjecture that before the dissemination of the draft, a secretary or administrative assistant, who is also probably overly compensated, has had the opportunity to personally and electronically, edit the work. So all drafts have had at least three, and probably four or more, opportunities for correction. Simply put, inexcusable. Mr. Webster would not be proud.

  2. U godda b kiddin me. Can’t u c that this is now state of tha art in language these days. We b dun vastly improve the method our grandfathers had to learn how 2 read and right. Kids ain’t got to diuphragm sentences anymore, so whadu spect? OMG patriot, u b an ole foggey. No BFF status 4 u!!LOL!

  3. I have a “win-win” solution to this problem. Transfer
    Barrick to one of Charlottesville’s sister cities as an
    Ambassador with reduced pay. Sign a contract for city
    communications with Payne and Ross Associates for under
    93k and no benefits. Susan Payne is the wife of former
    Congressman L.F. Payne(D-Wintergreen). The communications
    position stays within the Democratic Party and will probably be handled with competence for the City Democrats. I
    honestly don’t know what to do with Barrick. My thoughts
    are that we can provide Barrick with another job and sign
    a “communications contract” with the public relations firm,
    Payne and Ross Associates for under $93,000 dollars.
    Please forgive me. This was supposed to be a memo to
    Jim Nix and the Democrats on City Council. I guess this
    can be an exclusive for “The Schilling Show”.

  4. I agree that Barick ought to hold himself to a higher standard, or else ought to be held to it by the City. But this little stuff doesn’t actually hinder communication. And while it’s much harder to stay grammatically correct and say exactly what you mean when speaking off the cuff than it is in a written message, and while your salary doesn’t come out of the taxpayers’ pockets, still, anyone monitoring your show could cite linguistic infelicities and mistakes every day. I heard only about 20 minutes today, but at one point you accused someone you don’t like of not showing up at an event “helping homelessness.” Good for him, I say!

  5. GASP!!! There are two pictures along with this article. Which one is Ric Barrick and which one is the suspect?

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