Office of Citizen
Rest in Peace,
COUNCIL HIRES SHARKEY FOR MAKEOVER AT $45,000
Submitted by Roldo on Tue, 12/16/2008 - 17:45.
No one can argue that Cleveland City Council needs better public grooming. Anything that can make the city’s legislative body look a bit better these days should top the legislative body’s Christmas list.
So that’s likely why PR-troubled Council President Marty Sweeney – who might be the most needy Council member – has hired political consultant and former Plain Dealer political editor Mary Anne Sharkey for some helpful advice.
I told Sharkey that she should use as her corporate name “Mission Impossible.” She laughed.
Sharkey said she would be working with Katherine Bulava, Council’s communication director. She will be working on response to issues – of which there are many in the Council presently – and a market survey to identify how Cleveland residents get their news, including the “reach of the Plain Dealer.”
Sharkey identified one problem as the “distrust” that she sees between government here and reporters. She complains that “nobody talks to anybody anymore,” and feels that reporters rely too much upon public records requests in their reporting.
Sharkey’s contract calls for the city to pay her up to $45,000 for her advice.
Sharkey has done city hall work in the past, representing former Mayor Michael White for a time and Mayor Frank Jackson some three years ago.
Sweeney said that Sharkey – often a guest on WKYC’s Tom Beres’s Sunday political show – was hired to help Council members, including for their appearances on the city’s TV channel.
Clerk of Council Pat Britt - a former Councilwoman who never lived up to her potential in that job - failed to return a call for further information.
Maybe Sharkey has her first task in making the Council more responsive when someone does want to talk to its leaders.