Specifics of CVB’s contract with public relations firm necessary

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, August 12, 2015

On Monday, Natchez Convention and Visitor Executive Director Kevin Kirby welcomed the city’s newly hired public relations and marketing firm, Lou Hammond and Associates.

Kirby said LHA was chosen because the firm was deemed to have the best opportunity to tell Natchez’s story to media companies around the country and world.

We applaud that effort and wish LHA staffers the best of luck in their job of selling Natchez to others. For our tricentennial year to be the success our city needs it to be, spreading the word about Natchez and all we offer to tourists is paramount.

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However, citizens and taxpayers of the City of Natchez are the ones making this investment in hopes of making certain the city’s year-long, 300th birthday celebration is an economic boon to the city.

As such, citizens deserve to know the specifics of the contract between the city and the PR firm. Kirby declined to provide that information when asked on Monday, saying simply that the contract is “very realistic and allows fluidity and options.”

Perhaps that’s the case, but the public has every right to the specifics. Any agreement entered into by the city or other agency funded by tax dollars is public record.

Many times, officials try to dodge questions about what something costs or plans of action, such as a marketing plan, thinking such is too much information or too difficult for average citizens to understand.

That’s a big mistake. Those who spend public funds should bend over backward to earn public trust. Full disclosure is always the best public policy.