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County Hires Patch Editor as Public Information Officer

Looking to bolster its communication efforts, county brings on longtime Novato journalist to implement a roadmap for improved outreach to the community.

Longtime Novato journalist Brent Ainsworth, who launched Novato Patch in November 2010 and served as it editor ever since, has been hired by the county of Marin as its first public information officer in eight years.

Ainsworth, a former editor and reporter at the Marin Independent Journal, hopes to bolster the county's public information and communication efforts. He joins the county "in a time of renewed effort to improve public information and community engagement, particularly when the county has reduced its workforce, restructured services and programs, and recognizes a need to better communicate changes with residents," according to county officials

“One of our core responsibilities is to provide accurate, timely and coordinated information to the public, and also provide better opportunities for resident feedback," Judy Arnold, president of the Marin County Board Supervisors, said in statement. "We look forward to Brent helping improve our efforts and increasing transparency of county government."

Ainsworth's primary role is to implement the county’s Public Communications Plan, a road map for better communications adopted in January 2012. He'll manage news and information on the county’s newly updated and modernized website. He also hopes to improve the county's social media presence and serve as a primary public information source for the county.

“Brent knows the community well and is a veteran journalist who has covered all facets of community news, which were key reasons we chose to work with him,” County Administrator Matthew Hymel said.

"I'm thrilled to join the county team," said Ainsworth, who is being hired on a contract with a salary commensurate to $81,000 annually. "My mission will be to help document the achievements and important decisions being made every day at the Civic Center. Lots of those decisions have a profound effect on county residents. There is no shortage of news to be shared."

The County has not had a public information officer since 2005, when the position was eliminated due to budget constraints.

In 2009, 65 percent of residents polled said the County was doing a “fair” to “very poor” job of providing information about County priorities, services and programs, which in part stimulated the renewed effort.

Doug Kelly February 28, 2013 at 10:05 PM
Brent is an honest reporter of facts as well as a great guy, good hire.
Bob Ratto March 01, 2013 at 02:25 AM
This will prove interesting over time...Novato stated they wanted improved communications with citizens, and hired a communications czar, and now the County has hired Brent, who did more for communications in Novato than ever before, but ironically, (to my knowledge) did not receive any thanks from any city officials. That could be cynically construed as hypocrisy, or perhaps just not caring. Brent is going to do great things for the county as long as gets the latitude he needs.
Tom Walsh March 01, 2013 at 06:42 AM
Congrats to Brent, he'll be missed at Novato Patch but the whole county will benefit from his new role at Marin County.
John Parnell March 02, 2013 at 05:59 AM
Bob - Great points. Brent is The Man - loved by us all & the unofficial mayor of Novato. Maybe we can give him a latitude adjustment & elevate his position to Czar status, or go one better & make him the first Mayor of Marin.
Erin Stone March 02, 2013 at 05:30 PM
"We look forward to Brent helping improve our efforts and increasing transparency of county government." states Judy Arnold Why does Judy Arnold and The Board of Supervisors have closed door meetings then?(computer settlement, refund of cities funds)..Transparency? Brent will bring transparency, but will the Board of Supervisor's try to muzzle him?

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