JUNEAU, AK: Gov. Frank Murkowski has ordered all state departments to dedicate staff to improving communications with the media and citizens.
The move follows the governor recent hiring of a new communications director and press secretary, though Kevin Jardell, the new director, said the new personnel resulted from nothing more than standard turnover. Jardell dismissed the idea that the governor's new PR staff is due to low approval numbers, as reported by the Anchorage Daily News.
But Jardell, who was previously deputy commissioner of the state administration department, conceded that the various state departments could do a better job of responding to the media.
"I would be swamped all day, and on top of that I would have to deal with the media," said Jardell, adding that most departments haven't had dedicated communications staff. "I was constantly criticized for not returning calls."
The state will hopefully do a better job of explaining what it's accomplishing by having staff whose primary job is to communicate with the media and public, added Jardell.