The city of
The consultant's price tag—$72,000.
The Henry administration's critics say the city is wasting money. But the deputy mayor says the city needed to get outside help.
“I think internally we don't have anybody well versed in social media,” said Deputy Mayor Beth Malloy.
The city hired a Chicago PR firm, Carolyn Grisko and Associates, to come up with a social media plan. Malloy says the contract is about improving communication, especially during emergencies.
“For an ice emergency or snow emergency, letting people know when electricity was coming back on, what roads were closed, whether or not they should be going to school,” said Malloy, citing an example.
The contract amount of $72,000 is just $3,000 under the limit requiring council approval. But Malloy says the city worked out the contract when the mayor's spending limit was higher.
“We negotiated this contract when it was still a [$100,000 threshold],” said Malloy.
But that explanation doesn't sit well with Councilwoman Liz Brown (R-At-Large).
“I just think that that's just way too coincidental that it's $72,000,” said Brown.
Brown also questions why the city needed to look out of state to find experts in social media.
“We have such good technical people here in this city,” said Brown. “We have lots of engineers, lots of computer savvy people. I'm sure someone could have done that. We didn't have to go to
Plus, Brown says, it seems like a waste of money.
“This is just PR. That's all it seems to me,” said Brown. “I don't really see how spending those dollars right now is going to make the services that the citizens of
But the mayor's office defends the need for a social media plan.
“It's to help us come up with a strategy about how we can engage the residents and businesses in
The consultant, Carolyn Grisko, is based in
To see details about the contract, visit