It was the case of the missing ‘M’ and oh what a stir it created in Montgomery County last week.
It was a slow Friday at the courthouse and several of us in the pressroom finally took the time to read, and really notice, the new maroon sign erected on the courthouse lawn at the corner of Swede and Airy streets.
What was that I saw? Were my eyes bleary from writing too much copy for The Mercury and playing tricks on me?
There it was, right before the names of Josh Shapiro, Chair, Val Arkoosh, Vice Chair, and Bruce L. Castor Jr., the word ‘COMISSIONERS’ sans the additional required ‘M’ in the center of the title. OOPS!
It was like finding gold on a lazy, rather boring pre-summer afternoon at the courthouse. So, I, as @MontcoCourtNews, and two of my colleagues, went right to Twitter to have a little fun with hashtags.
“How do you spell ‘commissioners?’ Someone who erected new #MontcoPa Courthouse sign apparently didn’t know. #blunder”
“#MontcoPa #blunder New courthouse sign misspells ‘commissioners’ Wonder how much that sign cost? #Ooops”
“Hey @JoshShapiroPA @BruceCastor @VAArk How do you spell ‘commissioners?’ #MontcoPa #blunder as new sign goes up”
Yes, I was having some good-natured fun on Twitter and quite a few followers re-tweeted those tweets, joining the fun. One editor, @SMoore1117, tweeted “#CopyEditorsArePeopleToo” showing a little sympathy.
Frank Custer, county communications director, took to Twitter too with a sense of humor, tweeting “@MontcoCourtNews @Danclark08 you got us, Carl. Just seeing if you were awake. Took you awhile. Being fixed.”
To which I responded, “@Frank_Custer it did take me awhile to notice it; it took a slow Friday Court day for me to take the time to read it. Humorous moment”
I didn’t see a direct response from Shapiro or Arkoosh to my tweets, but Castor responded with what I think was humor by tweeting, “@MontcoCourtNews @JoshShapiroPA @VAArk We have a sign?”
Chester County DA Thomas P. Hogan even replied with a lighthearted tweet, “@MontcoCourtNews Never a problem for Chesco Commissioners #whatupmontco”
I ended the day with one final Tweet, “#Friday #Folly #MontcoPa has sign #blunder Was ‘commissioners’ misspelled or did budget cuts allow for only one ‘M’”
Don’t know who made the mistake or how it went missed by county proofreaders. Yes, one could probably say that mistake should not have occurred with so many county administrators and officials on duty to proofread. But mistakes do happen. Yes, readers have shot me emails from time to time about misspellings in my copy too.
I meant no harm showcasing the mistake. It was really all about having some social media fun on a Friday afternoon, to express a little humor from a place that is usually filled with sad, stressful situations on a daily basis.
In the week that has followed, the Associated Press picked up on the story of the missing “M” – so the blunder is likely known statewide now - and even one local TV station had a short report about it. Looks like it was a slow news week all around.
Well good news. Today, the missing “M” was discovered and the sign at Swede and Airy now properly reads “COMMISSIONERS.” Those in charge say the cost to repair several signs countywide that went without the “M” was about $4,000.
Thank you, comissioners for allowing me to have a little fun at your expense.