As we all know, Chicago is in the weeds. Total budget meltdown. Yesterday, the Daley administration signed another $5 million public relations contract, which brings the current roster to 11 firms at $55M. Why would you need 11 firms to craft the message coming out of one office? Mayoral press secretary Jacquelyn Heard told The Sun Times that: “A lot of pamphlets and brochures we do are in English. Often, the information needs to be communicated [to neighborhoods] where English isn’t the first language.” Fifty-five million. For translation. Sure.
This list of agencies include two ad shops: Better World Advertising and Jim Mudd Advertising Agency. The rest are your run of the mill PR shops and political communications firms: Jasculca/Terman Associations, which has done extensive work for City Hall and advance work for Daley campaigns; MK Communications, owned by longtime Democratic strategist Marilyn Katz; Carolyn Grisko & Associates, owned by a former Daley campaign manager; Landrum & Brown, Inc., a perennial airport consultant; Valerie Denney Communications; American Marketing Services and Metropolitan Group, LLC.
Tribble is calling this an ad agency bail out. Meh. Not so much. PR and advertising? Those are still two different things. Plus, it’s not like Cramer- Krasselt, Element 79 or Zig are getting the dollars. It’s more like plain ol’ political death considering Daley is laying off 420 city employees, eliminating 1,600 vacancies, slowing police hiring and raising taxes, fines and fees by $52.5 million.