Deb Dyar replied to the topic Should the communications department remain in the shadows? in the forum Communications, Citizen Engagement, Customer Service 7 years, 5 months ago
Thank you for your insights Daniel. As the public relations officer/director, I pressed hard when the department was formalized about five years ago to have it designated as the communications office. Unfortunately, my ability to influence that decision was limited and the name remains. With that said, at least in Iowa, public relations and communications are used almost synonymously and fortunately for us do not evoke the negative connotation associated with private PR firms.
The public relations department does serve as a support department and has been very comfortable working behind the scenes to help others within the organization be successful. Unfortunately, with the fiscal challenges facing local, state and national governments and a vigorous and ongoing public discussion on the role of government, the work we do is so invisible to key decision-makers, it becomes an easy target for budget cuts. This would have an organization-wide impact on the departments we support and place an additional burden on each of them.
It’s not the public recognition that is important; it’s how to help elected officials faced with a public demand for fiscal austerity to recognize and place value on the work we do.
I doubt this issue is unique to our community and look forward to other fellow govt communicators weighing in and sharing their insights.
Thanks again Daniel.
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