BOISE, ID: The Idaho Commerce Department is reversing course on its choice for a firm to help it boost the state's tourism and economic profile.
The department said today, January 29, that it is withdrawing a letter of intent to hire New York-based Development Counsellors International for economic development, investment, and tourism communications.
Don Dietrich, state commerce director, said in a statement that he reviewed the selection process and found it "inappropriate" to hire an out-of-state vendor.
"The intent letter sent to DCI is being withdrawn, and we will be negotiating exclusively with Idaho firms using Idaho talent for the Idaho Department of Commerce's public relations needs," he said.
Although the state initially selected DCI, the final decision was pending a standard appeal period, explained Bibiana Nertney, administrator for marketing, communications, and research at the Idaho Commerce Department.
Andy Levine, president and chief creative officer at DCI, said that the agency is "disappointed" in the decision.
"We'd love to work with the state of Idaho, and hopefully that can happen at some point in the future," he said.
DCI's hire was first reported by the Idaho Business Review on January 27, and the publication's Web site received a series of comments by Idaho residents upset that the work was given to an out-of-state firm.
However, Nertney said the decision to rescind the offer to DCI was a result of internal discussions, not media reports.
"After conferring with the governor's office… creating Idaho jobs is very important to us and is part of the number one mission of the department," she said.
The state issued an RFP for the account in early November and received 13 bids in response, she said. The reported multiple-year budget of $200,000 is incorrect because the state will bill the agency it chooses on an hourly basis, Nertney explained. She said the department has not yet decided how to proceed with the selection process.
There is no incumbent for the account, although the tourism division's Boise-based advertising agency, Drake Cooper, provides some PR services, said Nertney. Drake Cooper did not apply for the account, she added.