Jonathan Slevin Leaves The Washington Times With A Bang

Jonathan Slevin’s contract with the Washington Times has been allowed to expire, meaning he will no longer be the paper’s publisher and president as of April 30. Politico first published news of Slevin’s departure on Friday, when it was initially met with a denial by Times spokesman Don Meyer. Both the Washington Times and Politico now confirm that Slevin is indeed out.

In his farewell memo to fellow staffers, Slevin had a few choice words for those at the paper, particularly the company’s board of directors. Slevin does not shy away from expressing his distaste over their handling of leaks made by the paper’s new editor, Sam Dealey, describing these board members as having “no experience in the newspaper business” and claiming that they have played an “active and intrusive role” in several matters at the paper.

In an interview, Dealey said of Slevin: “[I]t’s no secret in the newsroom that Jonathan had an expansive view of his role as publisher and his view didn’t sit well with the editor.”

Slevin’s full memo, via Politico, appears after the jump.

April 25, 2010

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

My contract as president and publisher of The Washington Times expires on April 30. The Board of Directors and I do not agree on certain issues, and my contract is not being renewed. I am comfortable with their decision and am honored to have worked together with you during these past challenging six months.

However, the Board members directed me to leave at the end of my contract term without saying farewell to those with whom I have worked so closely, and dictated a brief letter I was to send to five people only. I choose instead to offer a proper goodbye to you, my friends and colleagues at The Washington Times.

Last October I was asked to come in as president and publisher to help The Washington Times through a very troubled period and to put the company on a path to being the kind of publication with which we are all proud to be associated. There were significant fiscal challenges and the need to revise the company business plan. With the able top leadership support and collaboration of Tom Culligan, Robert Morton, Curt Scheel, Irena Reese and Sonja Jenkins, we proceeded to develop and implement a new strategic plan that took costs out of the company while preserving journalistic integrity, brand value, and revenue. This task — made painful because the bulk of the costs were in personnel — is now almost accomplished

Since February, it has been exceedingly difficult for me and my leadership team to work with The Washington Times Board of Directors. This 2-person Board has no experience in the newspaper business, and since taking an active and intrusive role in February have involved themselves incessantly in operational matters, including taking charge of financial, legal, and human resources with which they lack the operational knowledge to make judicious decisions. The driving force on the Board, Mr. Nick Chiaia, has on several occasions in past months communicated directly to me his disdain for The Washington Times. Indeed, in the six months since I have been publisher, one Board member with an office nearby in Tysons Corner has never come to 3600 New York Avenue; the other Board member has showed up once from his 19th Street offices 20 minutes away. Being geographically and philosophically removed from the Times, they lack awareness and appreciation of the incredible hard work and quality of Times employees. As a result, they were either aloof or out of touch with our endeavors, which made things even more difficult.