Sioux Falls, SD
Mayor Mike Huether says his office needs a new staff member to let citizens know what is happening in the city.
The mayor is hiring a communications specialist to take charge of the day-to-day public relations out of his office.
He says the position is different than the chief of staff job he eliminated when he was elected mayor.
Huether isn't adding another position in his office; instead he says the long-time executive assistant, who has worked for the city for nearly 30 years, will leave in January if she can't find another job within city government.
The new job will handle media relations, public relations and social media for the mayor's office.
"The city is so hungry for knowledge about what's going on in our town," Huether said.
Huether hopes hiring a new communications specialist will give the citizens the information they crave.
"I think we've been effective but you know my style I want to take things to a higher level of performance," Huether said.
The new position means long-time executive assistant, Vicki Skuya, who worked for Mayor Gary Hanson and Mayor Dave Munson, will be leaving the office.
The description for the new job is to be, "responsible for the day-to-day communication flow of the Mayor's Office including media relations, public affairs, internal and external communication, and content management."
Huether says that's different from what Jodi Schwan did when she was the chief of staff, a position he eliminated during his first day on the job.
"I was very, very clear during the campaign that I did not need nor want a chief of staff within the mayor's office, so that's why that position was eliminated," Huether said.
City council members say they hope the new employee communicates what is going on around the city and not just in the mayor's office.
"If this person is going to be out there promoting the projects and the work that the city does for the citizens of Sioux Falls I have no problem with that," city council member Kenny Anderson Jr. said.
"I sure hope this person isn't following the mayor around taking pictures of him and tweeting about him. This is about Sioux Falls and it's not about the mayor," city council member Greg Jamison said.
Huether says other elected officials have communications specialists and its time his office has one too.
"I'm hiring a communications specialist. I'm not hiring a chief of staff and I'm not hiring a scheduler. This is a communications specialist that are used effectively in state government all over America. They are used effectively in city government all over America and it's time to use them effectively in the city of Sioux Falls as well," Huether said.
Huether didn't give any clear answer as to why he now needs a communications specialist after nearly three years in office. He just said with any leadership role you evaluate the organization and prioritize changes you want to make. He feels now was the time to make this change.