President (To Win Colorado) See Full Big Line

(D) Joe Biden*

(R) Donald Trump

80%

20%↓

CO-01 (Denver) See Full Big Line

(D) Diana DeGette*

90%

CO-02 (Boulder-ish) See Full Big Line

(D) Joe Neguse*

90%

CO-03 (West & Southern CO) See Full Big Line

(D) Adam Frisch

(R) Jeff Hurd

(R) Ron Hanks

40%

30%

20%

CO-04 (Northeast-ish Colorado) See Full Big Line

(R) J. Sonnenberg (R) Lauren Boebert (R) Ted Harvey

15% 10%↓ 10%

CO-05 (Colorado Springs) See Full Big Line

(R) Dave Williams

(R) Doug Bruce

(R) Bob Gardner

20%

20%

20%

CO-06 (Aurora) See Full Big Line

(D) Jason Crow*

90%

CO-07 (Jefferson County) See Full Big Line

(D) Brittany Pettersen

85%↑

 

CO-08 (Northern Colo.) See Full Big Line

(D) Yadira Caraveo

(R) Gabe Evans

(R) Janak Joshi

60%↑

40%↑

20%↑

State Senate Majority See Full Big Line

DEMOCRATS

REPUBLICANS

80%

20%

State House Majority See Full Big Line

DEMOCRATS

REPUBLICANS

95%

5%

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
August 17, 2015 11:41 AM UTC

GOP Media Flacks Way Over Budget At Jeffco Schools

  • 5 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols
Novitas' Michelle Balch Lyng (left), with former Jeffco comms director Lisa Pinto.
Novitas’ Michelle Balch Lyng (left), with former Jeffco comms director Lisa Pinto.

The Citizens For Responsible Education blog follows up on the contract between the conservative Jefferson County school board majority and Novitas Communications, a Republican-aligned public relations outfit headed by Michelle Balch Lyng, former vice-chair of the Denver Republican Party–a contract that appears to have run significantly over budget in its original five months:

An investigation into Jeffco schools PR expenses has revealed new information about the services and charges of Novitas Communications. The district signed a contract with Novitas back in February. The contract stated that services that weren’t to exceed $50,000 over a term of just under five months (02/9/15-6/30/15). This cap was apparently ignored. The district paid Novitas $67,082 over the course of the five-month contract and was 34% over budget…

The records also indicate that Novitas has taken over responsibilities regarding board correspondence in mid-July. These tasks are completed by Novitas employee Gabriella Mahan. According to the July invoice, her duties have included receiving and cataloging board correspondence as well as drafting responses. Novitas bills the district $60/hour for Ms. Mahan’s work. Novitas charged the district over $3,400 to handle board correspondence from July 14th to July 31st. In the past, responding to board correspondence was handled primarily by the Board of Education Secretary.

On average, the district has spent over $14,000/month with Novitas. Novitas employees provided approximately 40-50 hours of work per week to the district. Depending on who completes the work, the fee ranges from $50-$200 per hour. The district will spend over $168,000 per year if the district continues to retain the services of Novitas at its current pace.

You’ll recall that Novitas was brought in to “help” then-Jeffco communications director Lisa Pinto with district public relations. Pinto herself announced her resignation from her job with the district in late May, after a brief but highly controversial period of disastrous press for the board majority and revelations about the process by which this longtime local Republican operative had been hired over a number of apparently better-qualified applicants.

It had been suggested to us by knowledgeable sources that Pinto’s term as the district’s chief communications officer resulted in the departure of numerous veteran employees from that department. Novitas’ assumption of responsibility for routine correspondence between the public and the board, along with the hiring of another Novitas employee full-time by the district in addition to their contract, would seem to validate the contention that the board majority’s decisions have run the district’s PR office straight into the ground–to be replaced by a group of highly-paid GOP public relations workers. CRE reports that Novitas’ contract has been renewed for a two-month period for the same $50,000 as the prior five months, obviously in anticipation of a high workload during the upcoming recall election targeting the board majority that hired them.

Only problem? Blowing your press relations budget is itself very bad press, and the timing could hardly be worse.

Comments

5 thoughts on “GOP Media Flacks Way Over Budget At Jeffco Schools

  1. And of course Novitas execs – the ones with the real connections to the GOP – get a healthy cut of that $60/hr. that their employee never sees. I wonder just how much overhead there is in hiring an external PR firm to do routine handling of correspondence…

  2. Funny, not a peep from ACHole and Moderanus defending the JeffCo board's firehosing county money over to their partisan hack PR firm.  Bet they wish they could get a chunk of that payday, too! 

    Never get between a Republican and a trough full of taxpayer money if you value your life!

Leave a Comment

Recent Comments


Posts about

Donald Trump
SEE MORE

Posts about

Rep. Lauren Boebert
SEE MORE

Posts about

Rep. Yadira Caraveo
SEE MORE

Posts about

Colorado House
SEE MORE

Posts about

Colorado Senate
SEE MORE

43 readers online now

Newsletter

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to stay in the loop with regular updates!