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Port Orchard mayor requires PR training for top city staff­­

Port Orchard Mayor Tim Matthes is requiring all city department heads and supervisory staff to attend three sessions of public relations training, at a cost of several thousand dollars to the city.

Eventually, the mayor wants all city employees to attend a one-hour training session.

The city is paying $3,000 to a Bremerton financial advisor to provide the public relations training, and it will cost several thousand dollars in overtime — mostly in the police department — to arrange for all city staff to attend.

The city signed a contract with Frank Reed to provide the PR training. His business — licensed with the state in 2006 under the name Judah Investments and operating online as BottomLine Ministries — specializes in using scripture and biblical principles to help clients get out of debt and achieve financial prosperity, according to Reed’s website.

Matthes apparently received a break from Reed’s usual fees, which his website lists as starting at $5,000 for a seminar or three-hour workshop.

When contacted by the Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal, the mayor refused to answer questions about the PR training. He did not inform City Council members about the training nor ask them to participate, although council approval was not required for the expenditure of funds in this case.

Reed, who did not respond to phone calls and emails from the Business Journal, was subsequently reached by phone but declined to comment about the training or his qualifications and background. He said any information about the training would have to be provided by the mayor’s office.

There is no information on Reed’s website about his education, training or employment history, other than a vague reference to having worked on construction of aircraft carriers. He told the group at the first PR training session in Port Orchard that he had worked as a pipefitter.

Matthes did not attend the first training session for department heads and supervisory staff, which was Aug. 15. The second session was scheduled for Aug. 29.

On Aug. 20, a few days after the Business Journal submitted a public records request to obtain information about the training and the contract with Reed, the mayor’s office put out a brief news release.

All it said was: “City of Port Orchard department directors, and their supervisory staff, will be undergoing a series of leadership/public relations training over the next several weeks.

“The training will focus on the unity of City Staff and the Mayor’s mission of providing the citizens with services that exceed their expectations and to do it at the lowest cost.”

 
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