Spin Control: Costa Mesa Lays Off Over 200 Employees, Hires New Communications Guy for $3k a Week
Costa Mesa is in the process of determining if the adage "there's no such thing as bad PR" is actually true. While the financially troubled city has just given the green light to lay off over 200 employees, they have also just announced they've "hired a communications specialist who will earn up to $3,000 a week," according to the OC Register. News of the impending layoffs was so troubling to one Costa Mesa employee he committed suicide at City Hall.
Now on the payroll is Bill Lobdell, "a two-decade-plus Costa Mesa resident, longtime Daily Pilot editor and former Los Angeles Times reporter," who will earn his keep by working to connect with locals and improve what Costa Mesa officials say is an inefficient city website and a "poor" communications system. Lobdell says he "wants to improve access to public documents and stage town-hall meetings, among other things."
Costa Mesa is defending their decision to hire Lobdell, who will be on "a 90-day contract that pays $75 an hour and is capped at 40 hours a week," without perks or benefits. The city has never had someone in that role before, and reportedly the salary is comparable to similar positions in nearby cities, minus those cities' supplying benefits.
As readers of Lobdell's farewell Daily Pilot post suggested, he should be prepared to "communicate" with some pretty irate Costa Mesa residents.