PUBLIC RELATIONS RFP ISSUED BY JEFFERSON COUNTY GOVERNMENT

2022-06-19 by EPR Staff

Bid Opening Timeline

Please mail or deliver bids clearly titled “Communication & Public Relations Services” by no later

than Friday, June 24, 2022 at 3:00 PM to:

Jefferson County Commission

Commission Office

124 E Washington St

Charles Town, WV 25414

Attn: Jessica Carroll

jcarroll@jeffersoncountywv.org

Bids will be opened in public at the Commission Office on Friday, June 24, 2022 at 3:01PM.

Background

Jefferson County is located in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia and seated in Charles Town.

Jefferson County is the easternmost county of West Virginia, bounded by the Potomac River and

Maryland on the north; the Blue Ridge Mountains and Loudoun County, Virginia, on the east; Clarke

County, Virginia, on the south; and Berkeley County on the west. It occupies 212.4 square miles. Its

incorporated municipalities include Charles Town, the county seat (established in 1789 by George

Washington’s brother, Charles); Ranson (1910); Harpers Ferry (1851); Bolivar (1825); and

Shepherdstown (1762). Jefferson County was established from a portion of Berkeley County by the

Virginia General Assembly on October 26, 1801. Like much of the neighboring area, Jefferson

County began to grow more rapidly in the 1970s. Between 1970 and 2000, the number of residents

increased from 21,280 to 42,190. The number of residents increased to 57,701 during the 2020

census. The county experienced significant residential growth without a proportionate increase in

its business and industrial base. The county is part of the metropolitan Washington area; therefore,

the majority of its residents commute outside of the county to work.

In 2021, the Jefferson County Commission contacted a consultant to perform an Emergency Medical

Services (EMS) assessment and to explore ways of improving EMS services to citizens while

managing cost more effectively. This study evaluated the performance and cost of the current EMS

system and provided alternative EMS system models for the County to consider. This study

provided comprehensive data analyses, quantitative data reports, reviewed EMS best practices and

estimated financials for each EMS model presented. The study was completed in February 2022

and subsequently presented to the public. Since the time that the report was released, there has been public scrutiny and misinformation regarding that published data and the impact any EMS

system changes will have on the services provided to the community.

Request for Proposal

The Jefferson County Commission (JCC) seeks to retain a qualified public relations agency to assist

with further development and implementation of the EMS system project (the project) within the

affected community. This Request for Proposal (RFP) is intended to inform county residents and

assist JCC with providing a multi-faceted communications program for the project. This will include

messaging to the public that the image and reputation of the County’s EMS system is of great value

and a direct benefit for County residents, businesses and visitors. The selected firm must be able to

provide strong media and public relations (PR) strategic insight and message development to assist

JCC with proactive campaigns and reactive approaches related to topics surrounding this project.

The consultant will be expected to monitor and, when appropriate, provide timely response to

social media commentary under the direction of the JCC County Administrator. Regular reporting

on social media metrics, accompanied by strategic recommendations for improvement, will be

required.

The firm selected through a competitive bid process will assist JCC in designing, developing and

implementing a comprehensive, integrated and strategic communications, advertising and public

relations program for this project. In collaboration with JCC, the selected firm will grow and

maintain an ongoing dialogue with key audiences, including:

 County residents, businesses, organizations and stakeholders

 Policy makers, which includes business and political leaders

 News media

 Social media audiences

The selected frim will be responsible for supporting the County’s strategic communications, media

relations and public relations priorities for this project duration. Our desired partner will have the

capacity to provide strategic counsel and direction, actively share and promote our message,

amplify our successes and position the case that the activities of the County in relation to this

project is creating a better value and quality of life for its key stakeholders.

The JCC reserves the right to perform, manage, and/or administer any function referenced in the

Scope of Work (SOW) at any time during the resultant contract period. Such performance may alter

the amount of overall funds administered by the contract and will be determined on a month-tomonth

basis.

In responding to this RFP, vendors should follow the prescribed format and use the forms included,

thus providing Jefferson County with data that is easily compared with data submitted by other

vendors in order to fairly and objectively evaluate the proposal.

The bidding agency assumes no responsibility for conclusion or interpretations derived from the

information presented in this RFP, or otherwise distributed or made available during this

procurement process. In addition, the bidding agency will not be bound by or be responsible for

any explanation, interpretation, or conclusions of the RFP or any documents provided by the bidding agency other than those given in writing by the bidding agency through the issuance of

addenda. In no event may a vendor rely on any oral statement by the bidding agency or its agents,

advisors, or consultants. It is the full responsibility of the vendor to thoroughly investigate the

needs and requirements of the bidding agency not necessarily assumed in this RFP and to submit a

bid for: Communications & Public Relations Services.

Bidders are encouraged to contact County Administrator, John Nissel, to set an appointment to

discuss the project to ensure that the appropriate bid is submitted.

The Jefferson County Government, County Commission, in their judgment, reserves the right to

qualify, disqualify and award the bid to the contractor they see most meets the qualifications of the

bid spec.

I. Scope of Work, Instructions, Requirements, and Details

A. VENDOR PROPOSALS DUE BACK

All proposals offered under this RFP are due back to the JCC office before Friday,

June 24, 2022 at 3:00PM, at which time each proposal will be opened and the review

process started. Proposals may be mailed, emailed or hand delivered to:

Jefferson County Commission

Commission Office

124 E Washington St

Charles Town, WV 25414

Attn: Jessica Carroll

jcarroll@jeffersoncountywv.org

Proposals should be clearly marked “Communication & Public Relations Services”.

C. SCOPE OF WORK

The following provides a general overview of the specific work assignments JCC will

expect the selected firm to complete. These should not be considered an exhaustive

listing of services to be employed to meet the goal stated previously. JCC welcomes

the bidder’s recommendations to add strategies and tactics to this list that can

further enhance JCC’s ability to create awareness of this project. The bidder will

need to complete a comprehensive action plan for how the PR agency would

approach each category below. The budget page should itemize anticipated costs

for fulfilling expectations.

The SOW includes three major components: Media Relations; Web and Interactive

Media; and Reputation and Branding.

1. Media Relations: The anticipated SOW will include:

a) Propose and implement a regional media-relations strategy that

elevates exposure of the project to identified audiences via regional news

and media organizations.

b) Proactively identify opportunities for media coverage, both locally

and regionally, and work to facilitate that coverage.

c) Schedule media interviews for identified elected officials, staff, and

supporters to promote the project.

d) Develop relevant messaging that can take advantage of current

opportunities and events.

e) Propose and facilitate approved media events to promote the project

and its benefits to stakeholders.

f) Draft news releases, advisories and backgrounders (such as a project

fact sheet, electronic presentations, direct mail, etc) to promote the project,

staff and research behind the project, and generate placement of the same

with regional and local news and media organizations.

g) Track and respond to stories in the media that might benefit from a

response from JCC.

h) Monitor, poll and report on the effectiveness of press releases, story

pitches and activities.

i) Generate measurable increases in media coverage of the project and

its impact on stakeholders.

j) Create coordinated marketing campaigns (print, broadcast, digital,

online, email, etc) to include a written plan addressing objectives, audience/

market description, strategies, tactics, and budgets.

k) Develop a concrete social media strategy using tools like Facebook

Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram

2. Website Usage/Visitation

a) Evaluate and recommend enhancements to the JCC and related web

pages associated with the project and promote those pages appropriately to

relevant audiences.

b) Assist JCC in optimizing relevant pages for search engine viability.

c) Develop and implement in close cooperation with JCC a robust social

media outreach targeting appropriate audiences on multiple social media

platforms in a strategized communications flow that emphasizes

engagement.

3. Reputation and Branding

Jefferson County is well known for its historic, character-rich communities,

on-trend amenities, natural splendor, and hometown friendliness. General

perception of the County is positive. However, its recent public

announcement of the EMS system project remains relatively controversial

among prospective stakeholders. The project is a deliberate strategy for

moving the County onto an alternate EMS system that provides stakeholders

with improved services while effectively managing cost during difficult

economic times.

The selected bidder should include a thorough discussion of the ways in

which the consultant can augment the County’s reputation and use the

County’s brand to generate awareness of and preference for the project.

Anticipated outcomes might include encouraging/facilitating stakeholder

support of the project; pursuing partners for informational, in-person events

to engage stakeholders and grassroots supporters; attendance at community

events such as fairs, public education opportunities and other outlets;

developing strategic alliances with major players identified as possessing

areas of strength most closely associated with the project.

a) Develop branding ideas, including slogans, to promote the project

and to effectively and successfully raise awareness and connect with the

target audiences.