The Mayor and Council of the North Arlington Borough in New Jersey recently hired a new representative to assist with public relations and communications efforts. Writer and public relations specialist Cindy Capitani comes from the Scott Capitani Lubertazzo/SCL Writing Pros PR firm. As a result, she brings years of experience and journalist contacts to the table.
North Arlington is only one of many government bodies now looking to PR experts to handle activities usually done in-house on a smaller scale. These duties have ranged from reputation management and public panic reduction to streamlining messages and communicating with the media.
North Arlington recently took Cindy Capitani on board to handle all PR activities for the Mayor and City Council. Her duties include press releases and managing the related social media accounts. For this work, Cindy Capitani will receive $15,000 under the terms of her contract, plus another $15,000 for managing the website over the next 12 months.
Though it is the only Southern Bergen County town with a public relations specialist on board, North Arlington is no stranger to working with firms and experts from the field. Thom Ammirato handled these services until the end of 2014. The borough also works with Robert Ceberio from RCM Ceberio, LLC.
Filling a Need
Council President Rich Hughes commented on the need for a PR specialist. “We’ve been lacking,” he says. “We’ve had a difficult time getting our message out.” The Council felt this lack most recently when winter storm Jonas led to a buildup of almost two feet of snow in North Arlington.
The Council struggled with communicating information about the storm to the public. The messages they sent were not clear or in sync with information on their website and social media pages. The Council hopes by employing an expert to handle these tasks, the public can benefit from greater clarity and access to better information about developments threatening their safety.
Conflict of Interest?
Capitani works as a deputy editor and content curator for a local news site called The Daily Voice. Because the website’s news coverage includes North Arlington, this may present a conflict of interest. However, the PR specialist denies this possibility because she is not a reporter at The Daily Voice.
Other Pros on the Team
Last year, North Arlington also hired Robert Ceberio and his firm as a “redevelopment and public relations consultant.” This year, Ceberio will continue his services to the borough. However, the Council does not expect him to handle traditional public relations duties, such as press releases. Instead, he will primarily market North Arlington to developers and business professionals who may take a vested interest in the town.
Hughes is excited about working with both PR experts and hopes their hard work helps the Council meet the needs of the public.