City looks to hire PR firm

By Alberto Gilman
Posted 9/28/22

Setroc Group, a veteran owned public relations and multicultural marketing agency, appeared before the Newburgh City Council as a potential candidate for the city to partner with to help with …

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City looks to hire PR firm


Setroc Group, a veteran owned public relations and multicultural marketing agency, appeared before the Newburgh City Council as a potential candidate for the city to partner with to help with marketing strategies, increase tourism and create a positive narrative for the city.

City Planning and Development Director Alexandra Church introduced Setroc, represented by Setroc CEO Francisco Cortes and Chief Marketing Officer Jose Martinez, to the council. Setroc has been in communication with her, City Manager Todd Venning and other members of senior city staff over the course of several months. Services provided by Setroc are public relations strategies, community and multicultural outreach, marketing development, creative services that include social media and campaign designing along with production and photography.

The City of Newburgh Police Department and the Capri Cosmetology Learning Centers both already have established partnerships with the Setroc Group. According to Cortes, the Setroc Group’s portfolio of clients includes nonprofits, corporations and state, local, and federal government agencies across the country. “Most of our focus with each of these campaigns is providing a multicultural aspect to marketing. That’s something that really we believe in,” Cortes said. “The City of Newburgh is incredibly diverse. We hope to lend that multicultural aspect to the city.”

City Council thanked Cortes for the presentation of their firm and services and offered their own reflections on this type of work that could help the city move forward.

“I’ve actually been pushing for this I think about three years now. So it’s finally coming hopefully to fruition,” said Councilman Anthony Grice. “It’s about community outreach and engagement.”

“I grew up, you know, in Newburgh listening to how outsiders or people not from the City of Newburgh would look down on us and really just focus on, you know, negative things or blow it out of proportion,” said Councilwoman Giselle Martinez. “I am always going to be looking out for Newburgh’s image. I personally really like the incorporation of you know having multicultural approaches because you know our city is diverse.”

“We need to be in control of our narrative. There have been a lot of things that have gone on in the past where we could’ve taken control of that narrative and put it out to the public, what really, you know, is going on in the city of Newburgh,” said Councilwoman Ramona Monteverde.

“There’s great work being done by city staff. There’s wonderful work being done by city residents that often goes unnoticed,” said Councilman Robert Sklarz. “Somebody like you guys [Setroc] could really promote Newburgh in a way it needs to be promoted,” said Councilwoman Patricia Sofokles.

“This is long overdue. We can help identify the media outlets that support the City of Newburgh in a genuine way, not to say that there’s always going to be positive stories but those that do journalism with integrity and do it in a way where it’s honest, it’s fair, well balanced and transparent,” said Mayor Torrance Harvey. “Public trust is very important to all of us.”

Following the final council comments, the city manager provided several clarifications and responses to questions regarding the decision process. “Whether this firm or another firm is selected, it would have to be approved by the city council in the November council adopted budget, at which point we would take the end of November and December to start our prep work,” Venning told the council.

With associated costs, discussions have been held to decide whether a singular individual or a press firm would be the best route for the council. A singular press person would cost no less than $70-90,000 with benefits whereas a press firm would be between $120-140,00 stated Venning, who does not speak to the local media and does not permit city employees to speak to the media without prior approval. Press releases from various city departments, including police and fire, must first be cleared by the city manager’s office.

A press firm would help around the clock and would allow the city to pursue various ventures and campaigns, added Venning. This item will be in the upcoming manager’s proposed budget.