By Kristina Pritchett

During their Oct. 18 meeting, City Council approved staff to execute an agreement with Communications Lab for communication services related to city programs and services.

The Council voted five to zero in favor of the agreement.

Communications Lab is a communications consulting firm that specializes in services including media relations, community outreach, graphic design, video production and more. Communications Lab has worked with Santa Margarita Water District, Poseidon Water and East Orange County Water District.

The agreement is for a six-month period, with a monthly retainer of $6,000, not to exceed the amount of $36,000. The agreement also states the designated key communications contact is Brian Lochrie.

City Manager Doug Chotkevys said he believes the city is “well served” by having Communications Lab and Lochrie working with the city.

“Working with Communications Lab for the last four to six months has been refreshing,” Chotkevys said.

Councilman Scott Schoeffel asked how much an employed public information officer would cost a city the size of Dana Point. Chotkevys told the Council it would be expensive.

“When we were contracting out, it was in excess of $100,000 a year. It was very expensive,” Chotkevys said.

Councilman Rick Viczorek asked how the city came about finding the company.

“Word of mouth, by reputation. Mr. Lochrie, I believe, has worked for the TCA and other large agencies,” Chotkevys said. “He’s been very effective about it. When you’re looking for a specialist, you want to make sure you get the best, and someone who has a good reputation, and Mr. Lochrie does have that reputation.”

He added that he believed the city was getting a fair price for the services.

Viczorek asked if the price would always be $6,000 a month. Assistant City Manager Mike Killebrew told the Council that the price could be more or less than the quoted $6,000.

The agreement also allows either party to terminate the agreement upon 30 days written notice to the other party with or without cause.

The contract is set to end on April 30, 2017.

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