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Thursday, February 2

Public Relations

I know I'm not in PR (unless you believe what some of the commenters on The Saratogian say), but it seems to me that anticipating questions and coming up with answers is a big part of it.
That's why it surprises me that the Saratoga Springs Housing Authority's newly-hired PR guy, Eric Wollheber, vice president of Gramercy Communications, was so taken aback when I asked what the Housing Authority is paying him.
"I'm not going to get into what our hourly rate is," he said, when I asked him about ten minutes after I found out he was the new flack.
Since then, I have asked him two other times. Once, shortly after I asked him the first time when he showed up in our office with Ed Spychalski and Lillian Miles to give their side of the Housing Authority debacle.
The last time I asked him was outside the meeting between the City Council and the Housing Authority where he was sitting, thumbs glued to his Blackberry while Dennis Brunelle fielded questions from the council via Skype. He was in Florida.
"Did you submit a FOIL for it?" he asked.
"Is that the only way I will get that information?" I asked. I know, question with a question.
Whatever they are paying this guy, you think it would be enough to communicate that fact. I'm sure he knows what it is.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Foil the text messages to Brunelle - public record! Foil anything involving Helwig. Start a count down on the Saratogian on how long it takes to answer your questions along with how much he is paid. Put him out of business - his potential clients should learn what a mess he is... he will never get a client again.

February 2, 2012 at 12:27 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PR firm has been fired.

February 2, 2012 at 2:54 PM 
Blogger Lucian said...

Hey anonymous, where did you hear that?

February 2, 2012 at 3:07 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd fire him too if this was the same PR guy who said, in response to questions about an attempted eviction, "When the housing authority receives a complaint of a lease violation, the authority contacts the resident and issues an eviction notice. From there, the housing authority holds an informal hearing with an attorney present to discuss the issue and allow the tenant to present his or her version of events. The housing authority often resolves these matters during the informal hearings, and likewise occasionally elects not to proceed with evictions."
Basically his statement confirmed that a complaint about a lease violation -- not actual EVIDENCE of a lease violation, but a simple COMPLAINT -- leads to an automatic eviction notice that the tenant must then fight, by proving that the incident did not occur. In other words, assuming that the attorney is representing the housing authority and not the accused tenant, the implication is that tenants are always guilty until proven innocent, leaving them powerless against eviction unless they can disprove the allegations or hire their own legal representation. I don't think I'd want to pay a PR guy to confirm this reign of terror if I were the director or the board of commissioners at the housing authority.

February 2, 2012 at 5:28 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know why the housing authority took down their website? Is it possibly because they were trying to hide something else besides the fact that they edited the online newsletters to remove evidence that identified Johnathon as either a security guard or head of security? Or did they take it down just so there's no proof that they edited these newsletters at all?

February 2, 2012 at 8:34 PM 
Blogger Lucian said...

Two things, to the number two anonymous at 2:54 p.m., I'm adding a post to let you know what I found out. To the most recent anonymous at 8:34 p.m., I don't know why they took down their website, but it may have something to do with it being several years out of date. As for the public newsletter, we have copies of the originals, though I have not seen the allegedly edited ones. If you have a copy of one, please send it to

February 3, 2012 at 9:39 AM 

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