Thursday, April 30, 2009

Public outreach and the "value" of the advertising budget

Anyone see today's editorial in the Herald? I see the point. It would be nice if state and town officials routinely held forums in Cheshire. And it was kind to point out that both the Superintendent and Rep. Esty held such forums in the past month, as compared to others such as Rep. Nardello. In fairness though, other elected officials have tried a similar outreach in just the past twelve months.

My favorite 3rd District Council member, Laura Decaprio, had a few informal gatherings regarding Mixville. And in an effort to increase public awareness about "energy issues," I organized four forums. Councilman Jimmy Sima spoke about his professional experience with geothermal energy at one of them.

Frankly though, the editorial wasn't directed at me, Laura or Jimmy. So I wasn't too concerned about it at first. I just took it for what it was - words of encouragement for everyone to get involved.

Then I remembered something I came across in the past week or so on the Town website:Hmmm...

When I first noticed the "press release" on the Town website I chuckled. I thought... "I should start doing a press release for new blog posts everyday. I'm sure the Town Hall would be receptive to mentioning this blog on the Town website."


The website is a focal point of information. And control of the information is central to controlling the agenda put forward by Cheshire's Political Class. In other words, things don't get posted to the website without serious thought.

And so now I see this forum mentioned in the Herald and on the Town website.

Interesting. And while I don't believe that Rep. Esty had anything to do with these promotional aspects of her forum (which I think was a good idea), it seems as though others are concerned with increasing her public exposure and name recognition.

Coincidentally, during the town budget discussions this year I noticed the Town has an advertising budget of $30,000:Ignoring the departments for a moment, I wonder who effectively controls that $30,000? And if you had a client who paid you $30,000 / year... out of total revenue that's, for instance, in the range of $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 per year... would the person controlling that budget have your ear?

Tim White

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