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Council Debates Need for Communications Coordinator

New City Manager John Budesky strongly recommends position.

The city manager's proposed FY 2013 budget includes $339,000 for new positions, including a full-time communications coordinator—a position the new city manager strongly recommended.

Improving communication with Manassas residents, especially on education issues, was one of the top objectives for council; so the interim city manager included in the proposed $96.4 million budget money for a communications coordinator.

At a work session Wednesday night,, said one of the greatest challenges for the city is the lack of a positive message being put out as an organization.

The city needs to make a concerted effort to get consistent, positive information out to residents, Budesky said at a budget work session Wednesday evening.

Budesky imagines this person would not only constantly update social media networks and strengthen the city's presence on the web, but also continue to put out newsletters once a month in the utility mailing and positive press releases on a day-to-day basis.

He said the coordinator would work with all the individual city departments to get information out. This would include publishing brochures and other materials, which will help market the museum and showcase economic development efforts. 

Budesky said that more importantly, the position will also allow the city to bridge some of the issues with education by promoting some of the more positive things going on in the schools. 

Currently, the city puts $25,000 in the budget for a communications contract and $38,500 for a newsletter contractor. The city would use those funds, as well as an additional $25,000 from a park security budget line item left over from the reorganization, to hire a communications coordinator at a total cost of $92,000. Salary and benefits for the position is $87,000 and supplies come in at $5,000, according to city documents. 

"There is savings available or allocations that could be used for the position," said Manassas City Director of Fiance and Administration Pat Weiler. 

"I am not sure if you are going to see any different approach in the community and change in the city's perception if we continue to do the same thing," Budesky added.

He said the city needs to do a better job telling the community about its efforts.

"Instead, over the past four weeks that I've been here, we've notified the public everyday about how many arrests we've had, how many gang issues we've had, how many fires we've had and how many people we've kicked out of  homes," Budesky said. "We've not once told the community about any of our efforts we've done as a city."

When asked by Council Member Jonathan Way if the position required a full-time employee. Budesky responded: "Yes, and I think it is even potentially more than a full-time position."

City council members are expected to vote on April 11 up or down on five additional positions being proposed in the FY 2012 budget, including a Museums Programs Coordinator position at $72,000 per year. Other new positions being proposed include:

  • Human Resources Director ($175,000 per yer)
  • Human Resources Manager ($126,000 per year)
  • Human Resources Analyst ($35,000 per year)
  • Season Historical Interpreter ($15,000 per year)
Doug Brown April 06, 2012 at 10:57 PM
"Instead, over the past four weeks that I've been here, we've notified the public everyday about how many arrests we've had, how many gang issues we've had, how many fires we've had and how many people we've kicked out of homes," Budesky said. "We've not once told the community about any of our efforts we've done as a city." Mr. Budesky who's stopping you? You're telling us that you've been on the job four weeks and you can't pick up the phone and promote a feel good story about Manassas with the local media? But you can come up with an idea to spend almost 100k, maybe more, for someone else to pick-up the phone or write a short piece? We have an election in a few weeks, instead of planting stories which mimic the lame incumbent line that they need help. i.e., a Communications Director, to help promote Manassas, let's see what the voters have to say.
Erin Gibson April 23, 2012 at 03:58 PM
It seems since you want to hear more about the good things, you would be in favor of the position, right?

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