If Rhode Island can get their money back there’s hope for us

275-450TH-SINKING-SHIP-LOGOIn the news today, Historic City News finds the nation’s smallest state taking a big stand for its taxpayers against worthless “creative” marketers whose designs and work product are difficult to understand, send an obscure message, and turn out to be ineffective.

There is a new feeling of “accountability” in Rhode Island today, as the state accepted the resignation of its chief marketing officer, Betsy Wall. Governor Gina Raimondo said she spoke with Wall earlier this week and they agreed that Wall needed to resign.

“Wall’s hiring was part of a concerted effort to create a positive statewide brand and lure new businesses,” Governor Raimondo’s office announced. The FY-2016 budget earmarks $5 million for the marketing campaign, with the money coming from the state hotel tax. Wall’s salary was listed at $135,000.

“Betsy Wall does not deserve her job or her salary and should be fired immediately,” Representative Doreen Costa told news reporters Friday.

Does anyone else feel as if they have just stepped back into the money pit that was the 450th Commemoration? Perhaps this will refresh your recollection:

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One part of the marketing campaign was an order to produce a new logo that would be used to “brand” the state’s marketing efforts. The logo provided is an abstract depiction of a sail. Included is a campaign slogan, “Cooler and Warmer”. The slogan was widely criticized for being too difficult to interpret.

The exact same thing happened during the fraudulent management of the “First America Foundation” using taxpayer funds that were improperly advanced by the City Manager before any work was completed. Little or no work was ever completed, including a ridiculous logo that also included an abstract depiction of a sail. That logo was never used.

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In another example, a video made to accompany the unveiling was found to have had a three-second shot of a skateboarder who appeared to be in Iceland, not Rhode Island.

St Augustine hired startup, part-time producers, Mummy Cat Productions, to create a video for the unveiling of the “Journey” exhibit as part of the 450th Commemoration. The inside deal, made by Dana Ste. Claire, did not follow competitive bidding standards, and resulted in the private contractor being paid to create a video that was later criticized for factual errors in the script. When it was discovered that Mummy Cat Productions had made a commercial use of the project, and was peddling the video to television stations on the backside, the City Attorney drafted a “royalty-free” license giving the producers that right — after the fact.

The difference between Rhode Island and the City of St Augustine is that Governor Raimondo has arranged for the state to get back more than $20,000 for the botched video, as well as $100,000 from the public relations firm that was hired to coordinate the roll out.

“Betsy Wall did the job of a college intern, passing the buck when things go wrong,” Representative Costa said in a press release. “Wait, I take that back. College interns are more responsible than this.”

“We need to hold people accountable — because Rhode Islanders deserve better, taxpayers deserve better, and too many mistakes were made,” Governor Raimondo said today.

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