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Ormond Beach Observer Tuesday, Mar. 5, 2019 2 months ago

Ormond Beach plans to hire full-time PIO

The city hasn't had a full-time PIO since 2007.
by: Jarleene Almenas News Editor

With the City Commission wanting to improve public information outreach, the city of Ormond Beach is hoping to add a full-time public information officer to its staff — something the city hasn't had since 2007.

In the strategic planning workshop held on Feb. 27, the commission identified that improving its outreach through social media, press releases and other methods was one of the 10 priorities for its strategic plan. The public information officer staff position was cut during the recession, and duties were combined with the city's grant writer. At the financial trends workshop on Tuesday, March 5, City Manager Joyce Shanahan said a lot of other cities in Volusia also eliminated the position during the recession, but have since hired people to fill them once again.

"Quite honestly, we're just not getting out there," Shanahan said.

Shanahan said that's because Ormond Beach doesn't have someone dedicated to manning the city's social media and website. Compared to 2007, staffing levels in the city are still low. In 2007, the city had 426 employees, and in 2019, it has 373.

City Commissioner Susan Persis voiced her support for hiring a PIO, and said it needs to be "the right person."

"There are so many wonderful things happening here in Ormond Beach, so much and so many great things, and we just need to brag about it all the time," Persis said. "We need a cheerleader out there."

Mayor Bill Partington stressed the importance of hiring someone well-versed in all forms of social media. He said all posted content has to "accurate and appropriate" for the city each time.

The position's salary could range anywhere from $40,000 to upwards of $70,000, as Shanahan said cities like DeLand and Port Orange pay $52,000 and $54,000, respectively. Daytona Beach pays $90,000.

At the workshop, Finance Director Kelly McGuire walked the commission and the budget advisory board through the long term financial plan policies, which included maintaining a half million dollars in annual funding for facilities renewal and replacement, $400,000 in funding for the general capital improvement fund, $225,000 for the general vehicle and equipment replacement fund and a half million dollars for the transportation fund. All money would be generated via the city's millage. 

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