Pleased with the “strategic communication” advice provided by a recently contracted public relations firm, the Ketchum City Council has extended a contract with the firm for another seven months, which will cost the city an additional $21,000.
Ketchum hired Boise-based Red Sky Public Relations as a communication consultant in early December under a three-month contract not to exceed $3,000 per month. That contract expired Sunday. However, at a meeting Monday, the council voted unanimously to extend the contract on a month-to-month basis, for the same amount per month, through December.
A staff report included in the meeting packet states that the city’s staff recommended that the city maintain its relationship with Red Sky as the firm has “been available at all times for any type of request” and has “exceeded staff’s expectations.”
In an interview, Mayor Randy Hall said Red Sky is helping the city get more information to its community members more cheaply than the city could to itself in-house.
“The reality is the city’s done a pretty poor job over the past couple years translating the information of what it does to its constituents,” he said. “This has been working and it’s been taking a tremendous load off of staff members, who don’t have Red Sky’s expertise in this area.”
Hall said that before the city hired Red Sky, he received “nothing but complaints,” no matter how the city attempted to reach out to its residents. He said he’s now receiving positive feedback on Red Sky-influenced city communications, such as a new monthly e-newsletter and radio interviews that Hall now conducts on the day after council meetings.
Hall said he believes a more informed community is a stronger community. He said that before Red Sky, the city’s communication efforts were often inconsistent and therefore not very effective.
“The city had four or five different Facebook pages, six or eight different letterheads, four or five different city logos. I mean it was just a mess,” he said.
Hall said “streamlining” those inconsistencies will result in more efficient city government and more clearly informed residents.
“We want to say, ‘Here’s what we’re doing and here’s why we’re doing it,’” he said. “Then the public can come in with all the background and we can have a good debate.”
Brennan Rego: firstname.lastname@example.org