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Palo Alto hires new chief spokesperson

Original post made on Jul 30, 2019

City Manager Ed Shikada filled another key leadership position this week when he tapped Meghan Horrigan-Taylor to serve Palo Alto’s new chief communications officer.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, July 30, 2019, 4:56 PM

Comments (19)

Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 30, 2019 at 6:14 pm

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

If we had better leadership we would not need Spin Doctors.
I’d rather spend $3000 a week for free concerts at Lytton Plaza every Friday.
Or we could literally get a band called the spin doctors once a month for 12 months.

Posted by Family Friendly
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 30, 2019 at 7:06 pm

Why in the world are Palo Alto voters forced to pay for someone to spin PR at us? Our local servants should hire someone to help them listen, rather than speak.

Posted by Sally
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 30, 2019 at 9:47 pm

We already have somebody that does Press Releases and such for the City Manger's Office. Was that person fired?

Just kidding... apparently we need a fully staffed team of propoganmdists to tell us what they're doing up there.

Maybe, with her now in her role, we citizens will be apprised BEFORE a hire like this is made so we can show up and voice our disapproval. :)

Posted by Steve
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jul 31, 2019 at 9:57 am

...and the waste continues.

Posted by Disappointed
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 31, 2019 at 11:52 am

Heard that the city employees had no idea about this hire. Way to go city leadership. Don’t you think the lessor mortals (who do the actual work) should’ve been informed about this internally and not learn about this from local newspaper?

Posted by pakin
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 31, 2019 at 12:50 pm

pakin is a registered user.

Is Ms. Horrigan-Taylor reporting to the city manager or the Mayor?

Posted by Another Gatekeeper
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 31, 2019 at 2:03 pm

> "Horrigan-Taylor will receive a salary of $180,000, according to the city."

[Portion removed.]

Your tax-payer dollars at work.

Palo Alto must have more money in their coffers than they are willing to disclose.

Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2019 at 3:06 pm

> Palo Alto must have more money in their coffers than they are willing to disclose

Yes, a lot more.

Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 31, 2019 at 3:17 pm

concerned citizen is a registered user.

The police also had an exorbitantly paid spin doctor. You have to add another 30 % plus for benefits as well. We will be paying their pensions forever. If there is nothing to hide, any person can do this at 30 % of the cost of this wasteful expense. I often wonder who the Palo Alto government is serving

Posted by Carlitos Waysman
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 31, 2019 at 5:43 pm

I bet any realtor company will offer to do that "job" for free.

Posted by He Must Go
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 31, 2019 at 5:45 pm

Just another insider doing what they do best. I’ll call my old friend Ed Shikada and get another high paying job. He owes me one. I mean after all she worked for Ed before when he was in San Jose. She was great when Ed fired city employees down there for no cause. Wonder what that ultimately cost the city but we’ll never know that. Consider the house cleaning that has already taken effect look at all the positions that have been vacated wink wink. [Portion removed.]

Posted by Frank
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 31, 2019 at 6:15 pm

I am not opposed to a city having a spokesperson. Any public facing business with 1000 plus employees should have someone responsible for keeping the customers/citizens informed. That’s doesn’t have to be the same as “spin”.

But, if the city employs a spokesperson, it’s only fair for us to to expect to be well informed.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 31, 2019 at 8:22 pm

This job should be 85k + benefits. Ridiculously high pay at taxpayer expense.

Posted by Rose
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 31, 2019 at 9:30 pm

Rose is a registered user.

With all the complex issues facing Palo Alto, including Stanford's expansion plans, the RR crossings, the reconfiguration of Cubberley, traffic and housing, etc., do we want good communications? YES. I want to know what's happening promptly and accurately. Someone has to coordinate messaging from all the different departments that affect our lives, including our public safety and the direction our city will head in these complex times.

Posted by George
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 1, 2019 at 8:19 am

Department heads or their assistants should be able to explain their activities - presumably, they are most informed about their projects. The mayor should be able to explain city policies. Presumably, they are meeting with their respective teams to decide how to spin the latest. The city is not focused on how best to serve the public with the fewest dollars. They are focused on how to best serve themselves - in this case, expanding staff to reduce the labor they should be doing themselves.
There is no reason the city manager, the police chief, the utilities chief, etc can’t speak directly to the public.
It’s too easy to think of ways to spend the taxpayer’s dollar. PA officials have an obligation to the people of PA to deliver low cost but effective government, not to pad their own pensions, payrolls, and perks.
There are plenty of things needed in the city of greater urgency than a overly paid explainer.

Posted by BP
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 1, 2019 at 5:58 pm

This is why I am considering to vote Republican.

More city government padding.

People are too busy to do their own jobs, and instead need to hire more and more useless people, who don't do anything for the residents.

Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 1, 2019 at 8:53 pm

resident3 is a registered user.

Is the problem that there isn’t enough community engagement or that there is too much community engagement that a person needs to be hired to speak for the City?

I suspect that the City may want to curate the type of community engagement they prefer to have and this new hire can help with herding or lulling the natives.

Posted by A Moral Compass
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 2, 2019 at 1:05 pm

A Moral Compass is a registered user.

The newly appointed City of Palo Alto spokesperson will serve as a 'buffer' to deflect direct queries addressed towards various city administrators.

The position is a euphemism for 'cloud cover'.

Posted by George
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 2, 2019 at 8:14 pm

The city manager filled a ‘key leadership position’.... is this really a key leadership position? The salary seems like it would be but the tasks don’t. ‘Proactive outreach’ along with ‘strategic communication strategies’ sound like shaping public opinion with spin before the public finds out and objects. The important civic business of getting the public to beg for that next tax increase.
It would be interesting to know if the position was posted and if it was, the number of Palo Altans that applied. It’s a tad bit concerning that the new hire is a friend of the city manager but these days no one would accept such things, even if professionally spun - if, and a big if, if that’s the case.
The trouble with hiring a spin expert is that it doesn’t mow the grass at the driving range or fix the pipes at the pool. At the end of the day, it’s a really big expense for really no net gain. What is the actual gain for the city? Really, that should be a question.
It seems that the local press, including PAO, gets a pretty good read on what’s happing at city hall so...what’s missing?
No oversight by the CC. The Cc should be watching for stuff like this. Some one probably argued that some city in Massachusetts losing a swimmer a day to sharks has a chief communication spokesperson so, PA should have one too.
Someone wrote in an earlier comment that it’s stuff like this new hire, that would drive people to vote Republican. It really, really, really is stuff like this. A lot of Palo Altans don’t feel well served and want their city back. It would be good if the city manager could explain the background, bio, and ROI of this hire and where the 250k per year is going to come from (salary, benefits, perks, bonuses, pens and junkets).

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