The embattled New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is seeking to counter negative press coverage by issuing a request for proposals (RFP) for a ‘digital brand management consultant’ to improve its online media coverage.
NYCHA's RFP, which was published in the city's Record Online website, says the consultant would provide search and social media consulting services to support the agency's information technology department ‘in furtherance of the effort to enhance the image of NYCHA in the minds of various stakeholders (residents, the local population, the media, government funders, etc.) and fulfill NYCHA's plan to preserve public housing for current and future generations of New Yorkers.’
A NYCHA spokesperson says the new RFP was issued because the agency was ‘seeking to have more ownership of its own messages.’ The new digital consultant would be NYCHA's third public relations entity – the New York Post reports that NYCHA has its own in-house public relations department and is also working with Seattle-based Search Impact Consulting.
NYCHA, which is operating at a $50 million budget gap, came under public criticism last week when Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, demanded an explanation on why NYCHA was refusing to make a $10 million internal operations review available to the public. The review was conducted by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a former employer of NYCHA Chairman John Rhea; BCG apparently received the review assignment without going through a bidding process.