After initially insisting he would not answer any questions for these stories, he later answered some questions.
"You are correct, the e-mail is mine. The point of the e-mail was to suggest that teachers had no responsibility to respond to your inquiry," Sasse wrote in one e-mail. "I consider part of my job as president of WCTA to protect my membership, and teachers in general, from 'yellow journalism.' I consider the story that you are working on a disservice to our community in general and to our teachers in particular."
Sasse said his advice to teachers not to talk to a reporter was sparked, in part, by a document he obtained, which was written by the school system spokeswoman and indicated the newspaper was asking questions about teachers earning extra compensation. Phone calls by a reporter and comments printed by City Editor Liz Thompson in a Sunday column also sparked concern, Sasse said.
"We strongly disagree with The Herald-Mail's assertion, voiced by Liz Thompson and quoting Terry Headlee in her November 14 column, that printing public employees' salaries, with names, is beneficial. On the contrary, we believe it is an invasion of public employees' privacy and will only fuel the anonymous 'call in' feature of The Herald-Mail papers, as it has just recently," Sasse said.
Sasse said there is an important difference between these stories, about public educators earning more than $60,000 and past stories in which the names and salaries of administrators were printed: He represents the teachers, not the administrators.
"Administrators in the Washington County Public Schools have their own organization that speaks for their concerns and interests. WCTA does not presume to speak for WCPS administrators," Sasse said.