Decatur Creating New Job: Public Information Officer

The job advertised on the City of Decatur website would pay $39,998 to $46,301.

The City of Decatur is looking to hire its very first full-time public information officer.

This will be a newly created job. The post advertised on the city website would pay $39,998 to $46,301 per year. The application deadline is 5 p.m. May 21.

Patch asked City Manager Peggy Merriss some questions about the job. Here are her e-mailed answers.

Why did the city decide to create this position? Communication is at the heart of Decatur’s commitment to transparency and in order to continue to meet the increasing demand for information and the growing communication tools for delivery of information, we created a dedicated PIO position. We previously had a Community Relations Officer position in the Police Department and after assessing the needs to the entire organization, including the Police Department, we decided to go with a PIO who could assist all Departments with offering opportunities to improve communications, particularly with the public’s increased level of reliance on immediate mobile information.   

Has Decatur ever had a PIO before? Not specifically. Over time, Linda Harris performed many of the duties of a PIO but her increased responsibilities for managing marketing and branding, civic engagement and education, special events, emergency communications, the Tourism Bureau and other community-building initiatives has not allowed the City to take a more aggressive role in pushing out information via emerging methods.

How will this person's duties differ from those of Linda Harris, who I've always regarded as the defacto PIO?  The PIO will work under the direction of Linda Harris to enhance and expand the City’s communication tools and efforts as described above. The PIO will work with city departments to help identify and get the word out about ongoing city initiatives as well as manage the “need it yesterday” demands for information that come with the digitally connected world.  

Is this a good move by the city? Tell us in the comments box below.

Ralph Ellis May 14, 2013 at 01:05 PM
Does the city need this job?
John T. Hoyle May 14, 2013 at 06:19 PM
This NEW POSITION is likely in response to all the heat they got over the poor job by the City/Police Dept. regarding the lack of communication about all the ARMED ROBBERIES in the city.


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