Finance Committee recommends creation of communications department
By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD — Marshfield aldermen will be asked again, Sept. 11, to move ahead with hiring a full-time communications coordinator to oversee the city’s online presence, all press releases, and the public access cable T.V. channels.
With Chairman Peter Hendler and Vice-Chairman Jason Zaleski absent, the city’s Finance, Budget and Personnel Committee made that recommendation this week, on a vote of 2-to-1. Rebecca Spiros voted “no”.
“We need to make sure that two people are going to be able to do this job, like what is being proposed,” Spiros said, “That is my biggest concern – that we are going to get down the road in three, four, five months, and it is not going to be able to be performed by two people. And, at that point, you’re not going to be saving any money; you’ll be spending more than what you are spending now.”
The original recommendation for the position came from the Communication Committee assembled by Mayor Bob McManus, who cited a projected savings of more than $70,000 over the current system of contracting with a private media group to operate Marshfield Community Television, or MCTV, while adding services like city Facebook administrator, webmaster, writing, editing and distributing news releases, and creating a marketing and advertising campaign for the city using print, radio, and billboard platforms.
The current cable television coordinator is Tri-Media, and that contract, plus facility rental and other operating expenses, will cost the city $276,000 this year. The Mayor’s Communication Committee came back with an estimated price tag of just under $204,000 for a two-person communications department.
The position would not be funded with tax dollars. Instead, it would utilize the current franchise fee paid to the city by Charter Spectrum, which currently goes to Tri-Media to operate MCTV; that amount is roughly $225,000 dollars per year.
The full common council will consider the Finance and Budget Committee’s recommendation at their Sept. 11 meeting.