By BRADEN LAMMERS
JEFFERSONVILLE — Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore hired New Albany-based ProMedia Group to replace the city’s communications director.
Moore fired Leah Farris, the city’s former communications director, in late-October after the City Council moved the position under the direct supervision of the Parks Department. At a subsequent city council meeting, the council took the initial steps to move the position renamed “public relations officer” under the City Clerk’s office in 2013.
The decision to hire ProMedia Group was announced via a press release Friday.
According to the release, “ProMedia Group will provide ongoing ‘positive messaging’ and ‘news’ updates to the city’s website and social media network. ProMedia Group will assume the duties that were previously performed by a full-time employee.”
“I think it’s the right move for the city to make,” Moore said Saturday. “You certainly can’t say it’s a political move.”
City council members had previously stated that the decision behind moving the communications director position to a different office was to “get it an arm’s length away from the mayor,” as the focus was promotion of the mayor’s agenda rather than promotion of the entire city. Farris was Moore’s campaign manager in the 2011 mayoral election.
While Moore said hiring the third-party company to handle communications for the city was not a political move, he did not discuss the action with any of the city’s council members before the move was made.
“This is my decision,” he said. “The city council has been making moves in a political nature [and] I am taking that away from them. I am acting as the executive of the city; we are putting this matter in the hands of people that are professional in dealing with it and the games are about to stop. It’s not a city council decision.”
Councilman Mike Smith, who was in attendance at Saturday’s Big Four Landing presentation, affirmed that Moore had not discussed the matter with the him and it was the first he had heard of the action.
When asked if he thought it would be an agreeable comprise between the city council and the mayor, Smith said, “I’d have to see more about it.”
The cost of hiring ProMedia will be about the same as the money previously spent on the communications director position. Along with a salary of about $38,000 per year, when benefits were added in, the communications director position cost the county about $58,000 per year, Moore said.
“ProMedia will not cost us any more,” he said.
ProMedia also handles communications work for New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corp. and built websites for New Albany and Jeffersonville.
ON THE WEB
ProMedia Group: http://www.promediagroup.com/