NEW YORK: The New York City mayor's office - often described as home to the second-hardest job in politics - has created a temporary post that might amount to one of the hardest jobs in PR.Last week, acting on the instruction of Daniel Doctoroff, deputy mayor for economic development and rebuilding, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) issued an RFP from applicants interested in serving as a consultant on all communications efforts related to the World Trade Center site and its surrounding neighborhoods.
The project has been given a reported budget of up to $2 million, and may last two years.
"What we are dealing with is a very complex problem - in which there is an unprecedented level of interest - that cuts across a variety of agencies at the city, state, and federal levels,
"Right now, there is no one place for people to get information. I think pretty much everyone recognizes the need for better, more consistent outreach to stakeholders."
Those wishing to pursue the consultant position have been asked to submit a strategy for collecting and disseminating updates on issues ranging from air quality and street closures to economic incentives and long-term redevelopment plans. The winning scheme - which Doctoroff said could represent suggestions from either "a consortium of groups or a single firm
- will be carried out in part through the creation of a newsletter and website.
"This is going to be a huge task,
said Dianne Baumert Moyick, a former Rubenstein & Associates assistant VP whose small PR and design shop has been providing services to organizations founded by family members of the victims of the September 11 attacks.
"What concerns me a little bit,
she added, "is that I don't know if the mechanisms will be in place for this consultant to communicate the perspectives of all the different government agencies involved."
Doctoroff agreed that many details remain to be decided upon. "How it will all work,
he stressed, "will depend a lot on whom we pick."
PUBLIC HAS A SAY
Three days after city hall began efforts to enhance the flow of information from Lower Manhattan, a coalition of business, community, and environmental groups sent out an RFP intended to ensure that the public has a say in what happens there in the future.
On April 1, the Civic Alliance to Rebuild Downtown New York began searching for a consultant to lead publicity for its second "Listening to the City
forum, expected to take place this summer at an as-yet-to-be-determined location.
"There is a desire to ensure that all affected have a chance to be heard,
said Tara Colton, an assistant research scientist at NYU's Center for Excellence in New York City Governance, who is serving as point person on the RFP.
"The consultant's first role will be to gain greater credibility for the event, to have it seen as central to the decision-making process for downtown,
she added. "The second will be to get people there."