Cookeville is hiring a new Communications and Marketing Manager position tasked with spreading cohesive, accurate messaging to residents.
City Manager James Mills said right now, each department in the city communicates with the public on its own, sometimes leading to a lack of coordination. He said the last two City Councils have both pushed for more succinct, unified communication.
“Our previous mayor and our current mayor have handled a lot of these duties on their own social media accounts, which is burdensome,” Mills said. “It’s also not the best way to get the message out when you have a transition from one leadership to another.”
Mills said redesigning and managing the city website will be one of the top responsibilities for the position. He said the need for this position was never more evident than during the ice storm of early January.
“Trying to get all of the information out about when was garbage pickup, when’s my street going to be salted, when’s my street going to be plowed, when’s my trash going to be picked up,” Mills said. “You know, that brought it to a head, and realized we just need somebody to make sure we’re coordinated on this and our message is getting out in the best way possible.”
Mills said during emergencies and infrastructure issues, people need quick and accurate information, and they need to know where to find it. He said this position will provide timely information from one place while also promoting the city.
“Times have changed,” Mills said. “When I was growing up, people got all their information from the newspaper, and not many people do that anymore. Most people get their information from social media, and we’d rather it come directly from the source.”
Mills said the city already has some 20 applicants. He said they are looking for someone with a bachelor’s degree and at least two years of experience in journalism or public relations. He said he hopes to have the position filled in the next month.