MAYOR NUTTER apologized Tuesday to Daily News columnist Ronnie Polaneczky for a Twitter comment by his press secretary, Mark McDonald, that appeared to question the ethics of her reporting on the Philadelphia Parking Authority.
"I want to apologize to Ronnie, who I know, about what was sent out," Nutter said. "It was inappropriate. I want to apologize directly and on behalf of our city government."
In her column on Tuesday, Polaneczky wrote that after a critical column on the Parking Authority, McDonald, who posts as @PhillyPressSec, tweeted: "If reporter has let's say 150 agency violations, do you disclose that as you time after time pound said agency with your commentary?"
Polaneczky reported that she and her husband have incurred 215 tickets in the past 16 years but that they are paid in full. Nutter stressed Tuesday that McDonald had not gotten access to any private parking records but was just repeating rumor.
"It is not our policy to share or continue to move around rumors," Nutter said. "I think it was a mistake. Mark is well-aware of that."
Nutter also called Polaneczky to apologize, as did McDonald. Polaneczky said she appreciated the outreach.
Nutter said that no further investigation or discipline was planned and that McDonald would remain in his position.
"Mark is a very hardworking, committed public servant," Nutter said. "Having the kind of conversation we had will be punishment enough. He will continue to do his job."
McDonald, a reporter for the Daily News for 21 years before joining the Nutter administration, has unleashed aggressive tweets against journalists in the past. In March, he posted a link to an Inquirer column, penned by freelancer Patrick Kerkstra, calling it "Yellow J." n
Contact Catherine Lucey at 215-854-4172, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow @phillyclout on Twitter. Read her blog, PhillyClout, at phillyclout.com.