COSTA MESA — As City Hall works to emerge from the throes of a public relations crisis brought on by planned layoffs, budget problems and a suicide at the civic center, officials announced that they have hired Daily Pilot columnist William Lobdell to handle city communications.
"If I was going to do something like this it would have to be with a CEO open to progressive change and being transparent," Lobdell said, referring to the new title given to Tom Hatch, the city manager. "And he is. He was very impressive. He wants the city to be a model for transparency and communication."
After recently issuing more than 200 layoff notices without a clear plan on how to replace those workers with contractors, a maintenance worker committing suicide by jumping off the roof at City Hall on St. Patrick's Day, and the mayor criticized for not rushing to the scene after hearing the news, Lobdell acknowledged that the city has an image problem.