I’m With Michael Craddock

I really don’t blame McNeely, Piggott & Fox for making money where and how they can.  That is certainly how Public Relations firms make their money.

But people are losing their jobs and the Airport is paying $30,000 a month for PR? Paying people to set up Twitter accounts and to watch the news and to make goofy Christmas card videos to email folks?

I don’t blame MP&F for thinking like a private business.  They are a private business.

I blame the city for conducting itself like a private business.

Is there seriously no one in the city bureaucracy whose job it is to look at spending and say “What would the parent of the kid in our shittiest school think if she knew we were going to spend money on this instead of on her kid’s school? Could I justify this spending to her and not have to drink myself into a stuper in order to be able to sleep?”


25 thoughts on “I’m With Michael Craddock

  1. Pingback: MP&F Charged City To Set Up A Twitter Account : Post Politics: Political News and Views in Tennessee

  2. A certain division of a certain company that I may or may not be associated with spent a lower but still outrageous sum on PR every month. The people who made that decision no longer work for the company. And now I get to tell people how to use Twitter. WHERE’S MY 30 GRAND, YO?

  3. Aunt B, I love your blog but this is sooooo disapointing. Maybe a little additional might help you.

    1. The Airport is NOT part of Metro, not a Metro agency and gets NO tax dollars, none, zero, nada, not a penny. It makes money, it spends money. You support it if you fly , park, or buy stuff out there. You don’t like what they do…fine, walk or drive.

    2. Twitter is actually a great tool for a transporation agency as the public having access to quick info about traffic, emergencies, etc to needed .—-like : ” 1-40 is CLOSED due a accident”. TDOT is using it right now, today and it works great. I suggest you sign up to follow them.

    3. Did you hear the part of the Williams story about how the e-Christams card was to replace the mailed cards they have done for years and that most of the year one costs was a “one time” charge—–the card will be reused for a few years and the charges to “change the date” every year will be 5% – 10% of the first time “set up cost.” and that the cost SAVINGS over time [ using the cheaper e-card vs. the mailed cards]will be significant?—No, want to guess why you didn’t? How about this, because that would not make a good “got you” TV story that Williams is known for, nor help a guy running for office on a ” I will spend less” campign strategy.

    And no I don’t work for anyone invloved in this but anytime Micheal Craddock or Phil Williams says something, anything really, you of all people should think twice, maybe even 3 times, before “suppoting it.”

  4. Um, the waste of money is government acting like government. No private business could waste money like this and stay in business for very long.

  5. HAHAHAHAHA. That’s totally not true Smartie. It’s not a function of government. It’s a function of size. “Waste” increases with organizational size because the dollars get lost in the cracks. Note how Lesley mentioned a private company having a similar problem. Then the right person found out and changed the policy. Same thing is happening now with Metro.

    Jim, just out of curiousity… could you be a little more condascending? It makes me feel warm inside.

  6. Also, Nashville International “made” money off of TDOT recently when they received a $30k grant. http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/news/2009/airgrants/Nashville.pdf. Call me crazy, but I believe that grant came from some of the many variations of nada tax money that Jim mentioned.

    They may not be an official Metro agency, but they’re affiliated pretty heavily. Just go to Nashville.gov and look at the directory of Metro agencies. “Airport Authority” is right near the top. I sure don’t see General Electric listed in the Nashville.gov agency directory.

  7. I posted a comment with a link about tax money that the airport uses that may have gotten caught in the filter.

  8. Sorry W….disappointment with the boss lady’s jumping on the band wagon when the facts just don’t support having a wagon, much less a band that’s all. Not intended to be condensending. I read this blog ever day but have never posted a word. Never saw the need as I agreed with 99.99% of what was said. This time however, the facts just don’t support the premise for the post nor the underlying “news” story. Thanks for not pointing out the typos by the way. : -)

  9. Jim – yes, MNAA is not a government agency. Neither is the lottery. But both have monopolies that are protected by the government, so that makes them as bureaucratic as gov’t agencies – if not moreso, since they don’t even have to worry about those pesky voters. And you’re dreaming if you think they are going to use that same e-card more than once. I don’t know of a single firm that has ever done that (but I don’t know a single firm that spent $10-15k to develop one, either). And MNAA does get tax dollars – not from the general coffers, but from users. It’s like saying TDOT doesn’t get tax dollars just because their funding comes from a gas tax (on users). Twitter is not a great tool, it’s just “new.” The over/under on Twitter is, I predict, another 6-8 months. Then MPF can find something else to bill MNAA for.

  10. So your issue is that they are “bureaucratic “? Interesting. Suggest you stay way from Starbucks and McDonalds. You can always fly out of Memphis or Atlanta. You can find out if the traffic is bad on the way to both on Twitter! : – )

  11. Funny, I didn’t see any reason why the airport even needed to send out Holiday cards to begin with so the argument about saving money not having to mail them was just silly. I understand that there is a large amount of people who have jobs doing the silly, unimportant little things like Christmas cards and meeting planning, but that is still not enough reason to support them with tax and fee revenues. Off Budget Enterprises have been getting a free ride for too long. Good to see someone trying to rope them back into primary government accountability standards.

  12. To focus in on just one example:

    the ecard itself is cheap, but how does the cost of paying a PR firm’s hourly rate for creating it compare to ordering a passel of cards wholesale? And good grief, an ecard is so flipping simple, why have the PR firm do it? The airport’s own communications staff (yes, they have one) could probably whip it out in a half hour.


  13. Okay, one of the reasons I love you guys is that you’re always smarter and more savvy than me.

    Which is why I have to stick up for Jim just a little bit, because, in my mind, I was kind of conflating this MP&G stuff and the last bit of MP&G stuff and unclearly experiencing and writing about it as two parts of the same fiasco.

    I could have done a better job of clarifying my own thoughts in the post, for sure.

    But I still stand by the belief that, if you are taxpayer funded, you have an obligation to consider, at every point, that the money that could have or might should have gone some place else and to spend it like you’re aware of that.

    A PR firm is to show you everything it can do for you, all the bells and whistles and cool toys. It is your responsibility to say, “No, I need to be able to justify this to my neighbors. I can feel good about telling them about this, but not that.”

    Anyway, Jim, no one can find this mysterious BNA twitter feed, as far as I know. So, they got it set up and then…

    To me that makes it even more hilarious.

  14. Well that’s nice…thank you…….by the way your posters are real nice in comparison to some I have seen……..no one has called me an idiot yet.

    I have no idea on the “where’s Twitter [ can you use it as a noun?] thing but i bet it might have something to do with the fact [ this is for you Loony] that the communications “staff” at the airport is a lone PIO. I called up and asked just for yucks. ONE person. “Staff “can be singlar I guess so Lonny is techically right but his* use of the term in context implies purual as in “there are dozens of over paid worker bees running around over there doing nothing all day long but eating bon bons and watching I Love Lucy re-runs on Hula”, which is, of course , what Loony intented to imply with his post. I don’t mean to pick on Loony but my point is that at some point the facts do actually matter.

    Sooooo in truth “staff” at the airport is one person. Maybe he or she has been busy????

    My impression of the Airport [ I have met a couple of baord members ] is that it is a pretty tightly run ship. Ok so folks don’t like Christmas cards generally and really don’t like re-useable e-Christams cards for some reason……my business re-uses its e card by the way…and yes it cost several K to design it the first time…ok whatever ,but I hardly think we need to get out our pitch forks and torches out over this. Seems like maybe we are fiddling while Rome burns. Thanks.

  15. PS; Are you really “for “Mr. Craddock? : – (

    A lot of pretty un-nice guys made the trains run on time but that’s hardly a reason to be “for them”…………….. just wondering.

  16. It should be and it was looking back at the TV story.

    My bad. If i think about Santa my fingers just type C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S….habit and old age.

  17. By the way, I’m with you Jim: I love Aunt B’s blog and agree with almost all her observations.

  18. Jim, give them time. We always go easy on the new guys.

    But no, I’m only in agreement with Craddock on just this one thing. Not in general.

  19. So a couple of hundred words in the post and you focus on the semantics of a throwaway line about “bureaucrats”? Um, ok. But as you certainly know, that wasn’t the main point.

    “It is not a metro agency.” W beat me to it by saying it may not be by some definition a metro agency, but it does appear at nashville.gov site, was “enabled” by the state house and metro council, and is operated by a mayor-appointed board of commissioners. It doesn’t use property tax dollars, but neither does TDOT – and that doesn’t mean it doesn’t use receive any tax revenue. To top if off, if you were a multi-billionaire you still could not just run out a start an airport. Again, it’s a legislatively protected monopoly. if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

    “Fiddling while Rome burns.” Not sure what this means other than maybe we should just look the other way. I generally read it as a euphemism for “sweep under the rug.”

    On a lighter note, this is my first visit here. Got here from the Nashville Post link. Appears to be a pretty civil crowd. How’d that happen?

  20. I’m with Jim. I love TCP and Aunt B.

    IMHO, the brouhaha over the airport contract is not news.

    Neither is the fact that clients pay for PR firms to handle media relations and track coverage of issues that are important to them – in traditional AND social media outlets.

    Fee structure and Letters of Agreement vary by agency. I’m not talking about that because it’s up to each agency and client to determine what is acceptable, and be responsible to each other regarding their agreement.

    I’m addressing a whole other deal here:

    I’m puzzled that people are freaking out that an agency would dare charge at all for monitoring local news or setting up a twitter account. If your client asks you to do these things for them, then they expect to be charged for it. Usually, if a company had the resources to do so, they do it themselves.

    I don’t understand why paying an agency to monitor print, broadcast and social media is met with such ire. Paying a clipping service like BurellesLuce to do the same thing has always been a standard practice.

    You’ll notice that BurellesLuce now offers more than TV and print monitoring (http://www.burrellesluce.com/Media_Monitoring/). They charge to monitor blogs, message boards, and the interwebs in general. So do Cision (Bacon’s), Radian6, and a plethora of other services.

    Why? Because that’s where the conversations are happening now. That’s where the news is breaking now. If you don’t listen to and participate in relevant conversations in a meaningful way, you are toast.

    Either way, unless you have a volunteer staff, you are paying a human to “read” the paper, blogs, tweets, and “watch” tv. At minimum, you have to pay someone to weed through and interpret the results delivered by an expensive monitoring service.

    Having been a reader and a watcher, I can tell you that it is not playing around on twitter and facebook all day. From a monitoring standpoint, It is straight research and reporting.

    Same goes for participation – whether it is someone inside the company or a third party, *someone* is getting paid to tweet, put up facebook pages, blog, etc. on behalf of a brand, agency, campaign, yadayadayada.

    That is all I have to say about that.


  21. Appears this is a little bit of the cobbler’s children having no shoes. What PR person worth their salt could not have seen the wildly overbudget Convention Center gig as potentially exploding in their face?

  22. Lucy’s mom, I’m pretty sure the ire comes from the rate MP&F has been charging for the service, not the service itself. How much did they charge the city to monitor blog posts and chat about the convention center for a couple of weeks? $10,000? I’d love to be able to charge those rates for my time.

  23. Also, I guess I’m a dumbass about this, but how many airports does Nashville have? Does the airport authority need extensive promotion? Don’t people who need to fly generally figure out where the airport is and how it works all by themselves? And don’t people who are flying into Nashville land where the aircraft puts them — to wit, the Metro airport?

    Unless they’ve lost the monopoly on the provision of air transport to the capital of Tennessee, I don’t get why they are in need of a PR firm to promote themselves.

  24. Bridgett: People are increasingly choosing not to fly at all – they drive or take the train or bus for shorter trips, they choose a vacation closer to home, they have a nifty new video-conference instead of their traditional face to face meeting – and some of the reasons frequently given for not flying are that getting to the airport and getting through the airport (security, etc) is such a hassle, and having to hang around the airport waiting for your flight is unpleasant, etc.

    I mean, the decline of air travel is not new – it’s never gotten back to pre-9/11 levels – and I’m not defending these particular PR charges, but I can see why the airport would feel the need to promote themselves, particularly at a time when airlines have been dropping service to low-volume airports.

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