By Daniel Ritz
During their meeting on April 3, City Council approved a social media and public relations initiative contract with Katie Wagner Social Media Inc. and partners Spaulding Thompson and Associates.
The agreement between the two companies is to be managed by City staff for a 12-month period, with a monthly retainer of $6,000 and a total expense of $75,000 as budgeted.
Katie Wagner Social Media Inc., which lists offices in Aliso Viejo and Atlanta, Georgia, describes itself in the report prepared by City Manager Mark Denny as specializing in social media management and content creation, including video, blogging and email marketing.
In the Dana Point Community Survey, conducted in the fall of 2017, 74 percent of Dana Point residents believe communicating with residents through local publications, the internet and other means is an “extremely” or “very” important service. While nearly 60 percent reported being satisfied with the City’s communication efforts, the 30 percent reporting to be dissatisfied caused the City to issue requests for proposals from qualified communications and public relations firms in January 2017.
Council member Debra Lewis said she had trouble spending that amount of money, and suggested the use of staff or interns for the public relations initiative. Council member Paul Wyatt supported Lewis, also stating that he felt there would be trouble quantifying the impact of the scope of work.
Council member Joe Muller supported the idea of participating in digital platforms and having a strong voice from the City, but was concerned with the communication with City staff.
City Manager Mark Denny explained that although there would be weekly roundtable discussions, the communication between the contracted companies and Dana Point staff would be regular and consistent.
With Council members Lewis and Wyatt voting no, the motion passed with a 3-2 vote.
The contract names Dana Point Economic Development Manager Kelly Rendeers to represent the City with the exception to increasing scope of work and changing compensation. A full description, including a full scope of work to be anticipated from the City and a link to the approved contract can be seen on www.danapoint.org.