Swanton Village Council May Hire PR Company to Handle Negative Publicity

During the Committee of the Whole portion of the March 8th Swanton Village Council meeting, Council President Craig Rose recommended the authorizing Village Administrator Rosanna Hoelzle to look into hiring a communications company to help with public relations related to recent events and comments that have appeared on local television news reports and on Facebook postings.

“I like the idea of hiring a communications company to handle things we’re going to need to handle,” said Mr. Rose.  “We’re going to have this company come in and write our PR for us.  They’re going to respond to lies and misinformation that’s out there right now and they’re going to be our voice because it’s not appropriate for any of us to singularly respond to some of those juvenile (comments) left on platforms like Facebook and things like that. We’ve got an answer for that and that’s what we’re going to do instead of doing it ourselves.”

Mr. Rose then solicited a response from the other Council members.  Kathy Kreuz, Anthony Stuart and Diane Westhoven agreed it was the right step to take.  Councilman Dave Pilliod disagreed saying, “The less said the better.”  “Not any more,” responded Mr. Rose.  He then added that there would be more discussion on the issue in an executive session.

Councilwoman Westhoven asked Ms. Hoelzle if she thought it would be beneficial to pursue this course of action.  “There have obviously been some things going on in the news lately and I think it would help to have that,” said Ms. Hoelzle.  “We don’t know what is going to happen in the next couple of weeks here, especially with some of the things going on.  So, I can see the benefit of it.  I do see the benefit of having somebody help.”  She related a brief conversation she had with a company that specializes in that type of work and felt confident they were capable of helping but no other details were discussed.

“The biggest thing for me is that I think a lot of times there are things that are put in the media,” remarked Ms. Westhoven.  For example, some of the stuff that has just recently put on television and it always seems to be like some of the things on Facebook and there is a one-sided portrayal of what the facts are if there is anything factual in it.”  She went on to say that she believed it would be best if the Village employed a company that could provide guidance and help it navigate through the current situation.

Ms. Hoelzle was then tasked with reaching out to that same company for more information, including cost, to allow the Council to make a final decision.  The name of the company was not divulged nor were any of the incidents or events discussed in any detail such as names of individuals involved, Village departments involved or Village locations.

The Committee of the Whole also recommended utilizing a third party, such as Employer’s Association to assist with a review of the Village’s Human Resource (HR) Policy and Procedures.  This company has been used by the Village in the past for multiple trainings and HR related topics.

Pictured:  Council President Craig Rose

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