I'm glad that you wrote about this story. And the only reason we know about it is because the Seattle Times asked for a document that was available to the public.
We know that this is happening a lot in the corporate world, would disclosure help? Or would it just be ignored?
Is it because it is a public utility? Do they have to suffer the slings and arrows of malicious hit pieces and private companies don't?
Is it because they took a short cut and went right to the writers and not to a PR firm who pitched a story?
I think of the Pete Peterson people hiring Washington Post "journalists" to do special sections on why cutting the deficit is the most important thing on the planet. We know they were paid, did we discount them or did it sneak into our consciousnesses with multiple repetition from multiple "credible" sources?
If we are going to have a "blogger ethics panel" for these writers are we going to do the same for our high level "journalists?"
Related: he could be getting a $120k rise to make his salary more 'competitive'.
There is a misleading bit in the title. It says the Seattle paid for the branding, but it was Seattle City Light. SCL is a proprietary fund that operates on its own. It cannot by dictate of the Budget Accounting and Reporting System (dictated by Washington State Law) use proprietary funds for the City itself. The correct title would be Seattle City Light paid 17.5k to "manage online rep. It seems like a small difference but it makes all the difference since City Light does not collect taxes, instead it is a profit based set up much like Puget Sound Energy or other non-governmental utility company.
Only reason I know this is I used to audit Washington State local governments.
He got the raise
HA! That's nothing. The small university I work at (<10,000 full time undergrads) is looking to hire someone to improve the personal brand of our president, who presided over a faculty strike and administrative non-confidence votes from the Faculties of Arts, Science and, iirc, Business Admin. The price-tag for this person: $45-60 K/year - though I'm not sure what kind of reputation enhancement you'll get for that price.
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