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Tuolumne County Government’s PR/Social Media Contract Nears Expiration

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Sonora, CA — Two years ago, the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors approved a contract for up to $100,000 to hire an outside PR firm to work on branding for county government and to help with social media.

The goal was to help shine light on some of the positive happenings within local government, and to disperse information.

At this week’s meeting, District Five Supervisor Jaron Brandon made a request that the board seeks either a report or presentation from the firm, Archer and Hound, based in Fresno, on how the contract is working out.

“I want to see if we are getting our money’s worth and have them come back and report their metrics,” said Brandon. “And, as we are talking about budgets, whether it (the contract) is worth continuing, eliminating, or amending.”

Brandon further detailed his concerns to the board in a letter sent out prior to the meeting, noting, “A cursory look at the county’s social media seems to show unclear results. While there has been engagement on some posts, many have relatively low engagement. Without a review of the analytics, it is impossible to determine things such as the impressions, cost per post, amount of engagement, audience growth on our digital pages, any increase in inbound traffic to our website or forms, etc.”

Supervisor David Goldemberg backed up Brandon, noting, “I had greater expectations of what we were going to see with this contract, quite honestly.”

Board Chair Kathleen Haff went so far as to say, “I feel that we don’t need a presentation, for a lot of reasons that I don’t even want to go into right now. I think a report is a good idea. I don’t think we will have money in the budget for this next year. So, why drag them through a presentation?”

CAO Tracie Riggs defended the PR firm, stating, “If anyone let anything down here, it is the organization (county government) that let Archer and Hound down. We have not spent the time to engage with this company, to give them the information they need to really have done a stellar job.”

She continued, “If you look at what they do in other cities and jurisdictions, they are incredible. But, we have some departments that chose not to use them and others that do it part-time, and we simply don’t have the time to drive the information to them.”

The five board members agreed, as a consensus, that they would like to see a report ahead of the upcoming budget talks. The county’s existing contract with the PR firm runs through June 30.

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