Douglas County Schools to shell out $5K for communications consultant

The Douglas County School District plans to shell out $5,000 for a communications consultant, an amount which will be spent in addition to an annual budget of $1 million for its already-existing communications department.

Several members of the DougCo school board are raising questions about the decision, noting that it was made without consulting with the board.

Roger Hudson, who opened up his own communications firm after working as the public information officer for Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, received the $5,000 contract in May, according to an invoice obtained by The Colorado Independent (see below).

Hudson invoice

Hudson is also the communication liaison for failed U.S. Senate candidate Ryan Frazier, who finished dead last in the five-man Republican primary race with less than 9 percent of the vote Tuesday night.

DougCo board member Wendy Vogel filed a Colorado Open Records Act request to get a copy of the invoice, which was shared this morning on the Facebook page of fellow board member Anne Marie Lemieux.

We already have a nearly $1M Communication Department that includes a full time Public Information Officer and Community Relations Officer who are both skilled at their jobs,” Lemieux wrote this morning.

Vogel submitted an email to board President Meghann Silverthorn, asking why Hudson’s services were necessary. The issue centers around just who on the board of education needs those services, which, according to the invoice, include media training.

The decision to hire Hudson was neither discussed nor approved by the Board of Education, Vogel pointed out. She asked Silverthorn to answer a half-dozen questions, including why it’s appropriate for taxpayers to pay for media training (at $200 per hour) for the Board of Education. She also asked Silverthorn who made the decision to hire Hudson. A call to the district’s PIO has not yet been returned.

The board also recently approved a $56,000 budget request to hire a full-time employee whose only job would be to handle open records requests, according to Complete Colorado.

Photo credit: 401(K) 2012, Creative Commons, Flickr