EPA goes outside in effort to improve Whitman's comms skills

WASHINGTON: If anyone needs PR, it's EPA Administrator Christine

Todd Whitman. The former New Jersey governor is facing a number of

challenges, including convincing the public to accept higher arsenic

levels in its drinking water, dirtier air due to the relaxation of

carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, and international

condemnation of the Kyoto Protocol (see Analysis, p. 9).

That's why the EPA last week issued an RFP and quote to provide

strategic communications and public affairs services for Whitman and key

senior staff. These functions are usually handled internally, and the

media relations staff were unaware that this RFP had been issued.

The proposal calls for an assessment of presentation skills of senior

staff and technical guidance on effective speech delivery and

PR/communications strategies. The contractor also will be required to do

an analysis of the media to "determine the most effective means to

communicate different messages."

It was unclear whether a budget had been set aside for the project or if

this was a "fishing expedition" to determine the cost of such a


Since the contractor is expected to work closely with Whitman, it can be

assumed that only Republicans need apply. But interested parties have

until August 16 to submit credentials and proposals. A description of

the request may be found at www.epa.gov/oam/hpod.

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