On Television: DPI Spokesman Apologizes For Behavior On Common Core Issue


Last night Department of Public Instruction spokesman Dale Wetzel appeared on 6:30 Point of View with Chris Berg and apologized for his handling of the Common Core issue, including emails sent out from a Gmail account he started an a combative interview he gave on the Jay Thomas Show.

At one point he told Berg that he was combative during his interview with Thomas because he wanted to “rough up” one of the callers he knew to be someone who has sent ugly communications to his boss, Superintendent Kirsten Baesler (for what it’s worth, the caller in question has emailed me and said she never sent such messages). But Wetzel also acknowledged that this was not appropriate behavior for a public servant.

I was on the show after the interview to discuss my open records complaint against Wetzel and DPI regarding emails from the Gmail account Wetzel set up. Both Wetzel and Baesler have maintained that the email was strictly personal, and when I requested 30 days worth of emails from the account under the open records laws Wetzel held back some emails he’d sent to Thomas critical of callers and guests on his show.

I don’t think the AG’s office is going to agree with Wetzel and Baesler that the email is strictly a private one. Not when the name of the account was north.dakota.schools@gmail.com, and the person who created it was a spokesman for DPI using it for the Common Core issue.

We’ll see how the AG rules.

Berg didn’t question Wetzel about my open records complaint as the interview was pre-recorded before I posted my story yesterday.