“We get it. We absolutely get it. We understand that it would seem absurd at a time like this to be using taxpayer funds for this kind of non-essential service.”
Non-essential service? So this is our fate, PR peeps…at last in the eyes of Chicago Mayoral press secretary Jacqueline Heard as she announced the cancellation of all 11 PR contracts with the city, the last one worth $5 million.
“It’s been made abundantly clear to every department that they are not to use these contracts. But I suppose someone could feign ignorance and use them anyway. This will preclude that misstep. The door is locked shut on the use of these kinds of firms at this time.”
These kinds of firms? Once again, we find ourselves in the unenviable position of defending our honor, let alone the value we offer as a profession. How will the city of Chicago measure the negative impact that will result from inadequate or unprofessional communications between the city and its key constituents? Isn’t good PR, i.e., clear and concise communications, one of the essential ingredients for a city to govern effectively?
And it’s not just municipal governments that see PR as superfluous or a waste of taxpayer money. Gee, I sure hope this is not a trend.
Update (March 6) – Chicagoist reports on the PR backlash.