Friday, November 09, 2007

Henry Administration - Recommendation for Public Information Officer

I don't think it's any big secret that there has been some frustration between citizens of this community and the current administration's public information office. While I believe Mayor Richard has done a fine job overall in running this city I definitely see this as one area that needs improvement. In order to realize this improvement the city needs a public information officer that understands marketing, traditional media and new media. I think this is an easy choice and I'd like to throw my recommendation out there.

Rachel Blakeman

Rachel was a reporter for the JG, currently works in marketing in sales and also runs a great new blog entitled Be Part of the Solution. Now Rachel has absolutely no idea that I'm writing this so I don't know what her reaction will be. However, I would encourage Rachel to send her resume to the Henry transition team and I'll definitely send my letter of recommendation as well (for what that's worth).


Jennifer Jeffrey, Chair LPAC said...

I think position needs to be gotten rid of.

It's part of the problem with City Government. You can't get an answer out of a Department head. They aren't accountable.

They should be writing their own remarks, not waiting on spin from the Mayor.

Jeff Pruitt said...

I completely disagree. There needs to be ONE person that citizens can go to for answers. Otherwise we'll have a neverending stream of buck passing. In my opinion this is a very important position. There might be positios we could do without but definitely not this one...

Rachel said...


Thank you for the endorsement. I was little surprised to see this on your blog. I'd like to see you do this with other positions within the administration as well.


A *good* media relations person in any organization, public, private or non-profit, is a necessity. Especially in ones like city government that has lots of layers.

It reminds me of when I was a JG reporter. Each hospital system at the time had a very different way of getting information to the media. One seemed to stonewall reporters from the people who actually knew what was going on. The other did a mini-interview with the reporter and then found exactly the right person before the deadline. I still have warm feelings about that hospital chain because of it.

Department heads in any large organization do not have the time to field random calls from the public and the media. However a designated person within the organization can serve the public well, working on their behalf. The city PIO should be an entry point, not a wall, to city government. It's been so long since that has been done effectively in local government that we may have forgotten how it can work.

J Q Taxpayer said...


I will agree with you 150% in the last part of your comment about the PIO being the starting point. But that is not how it works today. That is the front person to spin out a given slant and then any other questions pretty well get either "no comment" or "I will have to check that out."

Our City Council members are more available then our mayors to the media.

Again if they did it like you stated the community would be much better off.

Jeff Pruitt said...


Thanks for commenting - does this imply that you will be seeking the position?


Just another reason why Rachel should be the choice - she knows what she's doing.

Rachel said...

In the spirit of disclosure and transparency (and hopefully not imperiling my current employment), I have submitted my resume for consideration to the Henry transition team for the public information office.

I briefly considered giving a non-statement or answering with the despised "no comment" here at FWL, but I figured if I would do this or any job with transparency, I needed to be upfront from the beginning.

Jeff Pruitt said...

Good luck Rachel! But if you get it don't expect we'll take it easy on you - heh...

J Q Taxpayer said...

Good Luck Rachel

ROACH said...