By: Ben Shore

Maybe it was because I read about the SF MTA’s decision to pay nearly $100,000 for outside PR help on a morning when the Clipper Card didn’t work and we would have been happy to see any N-Judah, even one with all the doors stuck wide open, but it just seemed wrong on so many levels to pay spin doctors to make us feel better about riding on a broken Municipal Railway.

Since then I’ve seen just how good these spin-doctors are at their jobs. They actually managed to help the MUNI generate headlines about a new labor contract that made it seem like tens millions of dollars would be saved when in actuality nobody really knows for sure how much the contract will save and the best expert guess is that it will save just a fraction of the agency’s budget shortfall.

A few weeks ago the Reset Revealed staff asked the MTA to send it over so we could figure out what these outside PR professionals were going to do. The MTA’s full time and very professional public information staff sent it right over. And there are a couple of interesting things to note.

This Time MUNI Hires the Best

First – turns out some of our fellow Reseters know these guys. After seeing who they are, it doesn’t surprise anybody that they did a great job. If we are ever in charge of a failing transit system and we needed good press – we would certainly want these masters of disaster on speed dial. (Although we would hope that some accountability-minded web community would quickly bring us to our senses and suggest we use our own qualified professional staff already on payroll – not outside spin doctors).

No Wonder It is So Hard to Do Business with San Francisco.

And second – seriously, take a minute to read this thing. It is 31 pages that includes just about everything including how the contractor should deal with unfair hiring practices in Northern Ireland. Take a look at the contract – it is an education on how business is done in San Francisco.

SFMTA Public Relations Contract 

Reset will be following this story in the days ahead and trying to figure out exactly how much the new MUNI operator contract does, or does not, save. Stay tuned.