Marshfield creates communications department
By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – Marshfield aldermen will hire a full-time communications coordinator to oversee the city’s online presence, all press releases and the public access cable television channels. The Common Council voted 8-to-2 on Sept. 11 in favor of creating a communications department.
The original recommendation for the position came from a special communication committee assembled by Mayor Bob McManus, who cited a projected savings 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.
Marshfield’s Finance, Budget and Personnel Committee voted 2-to-1 last week in favor of creating the position, and sent that recommendation to the council for its consideration. Alderman Rebecca Spiros was a “no” vote then, and she was a “no” vote Sept. 11 as well, along with Alderman Jason Zaleski.
“I don’t believe that we can get services for 2.0 FTE, so I think that the services will suffer,” Spiros said. “I don’t believe that we have secured a budget at all. So, I have concerns that there are a lot of things that have not been shored up. How do you expect one person to be at multiple meetings, recording meetings, editing meetings, when multiple meetings are occurring at the same time?”
The mayor said surrounding communities rely heavily on community producers and volunteers for additional support, and that model would be followed in Marshfield, much like it is now with MCTV utilizing a number of citizens to help produce, record, and host programs. That number has been reported at more than 40 community volunteers so far this year. Tri-Media currently works under a contract with the city to operate MCTV.
The communications department comes with an estimated price tag of just under $204,000 dollars. Final wages for two employees would be determined once the positions are evaluated by the McGrath Human Resources Group which the city uses to set salaries.
The expenses for the new department would not be covered by 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 per year.
The current contract with Tri-Media expires at the end of March, and the new communications department would active by April 1, with the communications coordinator likely coming on in mid-February, according to the mayor.