The Idaho PR community is raving about the decision of the Idaho Department of Commerce to withdraw the offer they made to a New York public relations firm to market Idaho to the world. Don Dietrich, director of the Department of Commerce, considers it inappropriate to hire an out-of-state company to do the work.
“After thoroughly reviewing the contracting process and its result, I determined that it was inappropriate to hire an out-of-state vendor to help us revitalize and expand Idaho’s economy and produce Idaho jobs,” Dietrich said in a statement. “The intent letter sent to DCI is being withdrawn, and we will be negotiating exclusively with Idaho firms using Idaho talent for the Idaho Department of Commerce’s public relations needs.”
I was really impressed to see the number of comments at idahobusiness.net, where the news was published. Apparently PR professionals from Idaho created yesterday a real Twitter “storm” to protest against the Department hiring a New York agency. This was a hot topic in the PR community – but, in my opinion, the contract with the NY company was unfairly withdrawn.
Somehow though I have my doubts that an Idaho agency will do the job better than an off-state agency, for obvious reasons: a state agency will be subjective about the state they reside in. “Home” is the best place for all of us, and we often describe it with superlatives, forgetting, or ignoring other obvious issues. Of course, it is important to create “in state” jobs, but not when that could be detrimental for the state.
The final decision – to hire “local” talent is mainly economical – and it is also based on community pressure. Idaho agencies were biding on the project, and New York-based Development Counsellors International won fair and square. So it’s not like the Idaho Department of Commerce hasn’t even interviewed local companies.
Andy Levine, president and chief creative office at DCI, was definitely “disappointed” in the decision of the Idaho Department of Commerce.
“We’d love to work with the state of Idaho, and hopefully that can happen at some point in the future,”
Bibiana Nertney, administrator for marketing, communications, and research at the Idaho Commerce Department, declared that the decison to withdraw the letter of intent to hire Development Counsellors International was a result of internal discussions, not media reports. I still think the Department was too weak in front of public pressure.