April 27, 2005 - Good public relations starts with open, two-way communication.
It's amazing how many governmental officials seem to forget that fact.
It's ironic how quickly governmental officials will blame the messenger, yet they haven't a clue at the amount of damage they're causing to their entity or organization in the eyes of the community.
From where we sit, it's easy to spot what kind of image a governmental entity has in the community. Those entities and organizations with a horrible public relations problem usually deny that any problem exists.
These officials have insulated themselves from the general public and are in a cocoon designed to reinforce their erroneous perception of their entity or organization.
"We don't have any PR problem,'' they say. "Everyone says we're doing a great job.''
The problem lies with exactly whom "everyone'' is. Usually it's a handful of people, including underlings and those who are fearful of losing their jobs if they say anything else. Others are fearful of the retaliatory actions that certainly would result if they dared to tell the truth.
Those governmental entities that have public relations problems also are easy to spot because they're using the ones touting what a great job they're doing.
"We're great,'' they say, "and we're going to let everyone know what a great job we're doing.''
Perhaps if they say it often enough, maybe they'll convince themselves it's true.
That's quite a contrast to those governmental entities and organizations that truly are doing a great job and there are many right here in south county who are doing an outstanding job. Those governmental entities and organizations don't have to keep reminding the community because their actions — the good work that they're doing — speak volumes.
And when something doesn't go as planned, they're ready to shoulder their share of the blame.
It's always amazing to see a governmental entity with a public relations problem play the blame game when things go awry. It's never their fault; it's always somebody else's fault — usually the messenger.
Those entities with nothing to hide welcome the scrutiny of the public and the press. Those with something to hide will scream the loudest when someone attempts to hold them accountable for their actions.