Long-debated communications manager position filled at City of Nanaimo

By Dominic Abassi
April 12, 2019 - 4:13pm Updated: April 12, 2019 - 4:56pm

The City of Nanaimo's newest communications manager Farnaz Farrokhi.Farnaz Farrokhi/Twitter

NANAIMO — More than 18-months after abruptly parting ways with its communications manager, the City of Nanaimo has filled the position.

The City announced it hired Farnaz Farrokhi to fill the vacant and newly re-added position of communications manager.

Farrokhi comes to Nanaimo from the City of White Rock and has extensive experience in strategic communications and public affairs, the City said in a news release.

Her resume includes time spent working in the Prime Minister's Office under the Harper government, as well as Environment Canada and BCAA.

Farrokhi's first day with Nanaimo will be April 15.

Despite the fact her salary will likely fall in the range of those which must be publicly disclosed each year, a request for Farrokhi's compensation package was denied by the City and sent through the Freedom of Information department.

In the absence of a senior communications employee, the City hired a consultant to handle messaging related to the homelessness issue. The most recent information provided to NanaimoNewsNOW showed the City spent more than $45,000 with Jericho Consulting.

The senior communications position was at the centre of much debate since the City unceremoniously parted ways with veteran director of communications Philip Cooper in September 2017.

Interactions between the City and media became significantly challenged in the months after Cooper's departure and under the control of the previous administration.

The outgoing Council argued at length over putting money in the 2018 budget to hire a replacement for Cooper, first adding and then removing funding. Debate centred around whether the City actually needed the position.

During deliberations over its first budget, Nanaimo's new Council included the communications manager among 13 full-time-equivalent staffing additions.

A preliminary 2019 budget report noted roughly $140,000 was set aside for the salary and benefits for the communications role. Over Cooper's final full year with the City (2016) he earned $118,000 as a senior director.

 

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On Twitter: @domabassi

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