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City of Puyallup

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SS- 4205   3.    
City Council Study Session
Meeting Date: 02/11/2014  
Subject:    Public Affairs Officer position
Submitted by: Bill McDonald
Department: City Manager's Office  

Public Affairs Officer position
Purpose of Discussion
The 2014 Budget established the position of Management Analyst as a new classification. Melanie Harding transitioned from the Community Relations Coordinator position to the duties of the new position. During the budget process, I agreed that for the time being Melanie would continue to provide Community Relations functions. I am concerned that the substantial menu of items that are on the docket to investigate in our organization challenge the time Melanie will have available. I have attached a short list of subjects we would like to investigate as we continue to move down the path of organizational development.

As Council will recall, the Public Affairs position in the City Managers Office was eliminated as a difficult but necessary action while building an austere 2013 budget. That decision was aided in some part by the incumbent (Glenda Carino) taking a new position in another city. Subsequently, in 2013 a part-time temporary position was approved by the City Manager to make sure we were updating the city's significant website and social media tools. The 2014 Budget provides for a part-time Public Affairs position. I do not think that is adequate to meet the demand which now exists and is increasing.

This item takes on added importance for the City Manager's office because our constituent tracking system is administered through the Community Relations desk. It is a valuable tool and needs adequate capacity. Additionally, Councilmembers often contact the City Manager or the Community Relations Coordinator when they have constituent questions and problems that need attention.

Proposal: I would propose to recruit a full-time Public Affairs/Community Relations Officer (we are still working on the right title). This would allow Melanie to focus primarily on Management Analyst duties. I may be able to do this without much change to the City Manager budget as we have saved some money in the Emergency Management Division.

Move ahead recruiting a half-time Public Affairs position and try to find a different method of unloading some items in Melanie's portfolio.
Recommended Future Action
Allow the City Manager to proceed with the recruitment of a full-time Public Affairs/Community Relations Officer to meet the demand for website, social media, public affairs, and constituent response tasks.

Management Analyst Possible Project List

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