I had to stop and read Joan Whitlow's incredible story in today's Star-Ledger (for those of you from out of state, the Star-Ledger is the quasi-official state paper of New Jersey, and Tony Soprano's newspaper of choice).
Joan, one of New Jersey's most effective, insightful, and highly-regarded columnists, wrote a column for today's website entitled "PR Pays Big, Though Not For Public." The story it tells about sweetheart contracts to well-connected "marketing communications firms" in Newark is just heartbreaking to those of us who try very hard to run professional, buttoned-up PR firms, and who fight tooth-and-nail against perceptions that PR is somehow a "fluff" job, and that we are all just "flacks" who come in at the crack of noon, take a journalist out to lunch, then make a few phone calls before hitting the links.
Perhaps if I had a few of those $358,000 contracts from the Newark City Council, I could do just that!
The City needs a new website, and it SHOULD be communicating with its citizens far more frequently and far more aggressively and effectively than it has up until now. My suggestion? How about hiring REAL PROFESSIONALS and not some "made-up-just-to-get-this-contract" firm owned by someone's relative.
Mayor Booker: I offer my services -- FREE OF CHARGE TO THE CITY OF NEWARK -- to work with you to write a scope-of-work, to head up a selection committee, and to choose a PR firm for the City that will help you fulfill your promise of honest, effective, transparent government.
But I'm not holding my breath waiting for your call.