There’s a good editorial on KeysNet.com: School District doesn’t need a spin doctor.
I think any government agency can use the services of a good Public Information Officer (PIO). Educating the public. Disseminating accurate information. Counter-acting misinformation. Making sure public records requests are answered properly and timely. These are all necessary and legitimate functions of a PIO. The editorial makes that point very nicely.
But then you’ve got “spin doctors”. Let’s take Monroe County as an example. They recently hired what they call a PIO, but she actually functions as the worst kind of “spin doctor”. She was involved in distorting the animal control numbers in the state of the county report. Last week, I submitted a really simple public records request. No answer so far. (I’ll give it another week.) It would seem the function of this particular PIO is to withhold and distort information – the exact opposite of what the public needs a PIO to do.
So what exactly is the School District intending to hire? Will this be a PIO that honestly addresses the public’s questions and concerns? Or will it be a “spin doctor” that misleads and/or stonewalls the public when expedient? Well, according to the editorial the official job description calls for a “spin doctor”. Monroe County taxpayers don’t need any more of those. We’ve got plenty. They’re running out our ears. We need more honesty and transparency from our local governments – not less. Apparently, the county’s PIO position was added in order to enhance their ability to mislead, rather than serve, the public. That much is clear.
If the School District intends to do the same, I really wish they wouldn’t bother.