Milwaukee Sewerage Drops $3-million PR Plan

Trade publication PR Week reports that critical news stories have caused the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) to pull a $3-million PR plan that "would have gathered community input for its long-range planning process." The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's reporting on MMSD's PR spending led city commissioners to question the cost and details of the PR plan. According to the Journal Sentinel, MMSD's "budget for publicity and lobbying ranks fifth overall -- second among similar-sized systems -- and No. 1 in salary for its top communications officer, an informal national survey of 19 sewer utilities indicates." MMSD's director of communications Mark Kass' salary this year is $101,937. MMSD defends Kass' salary, saying that "Kass' duties extended beyond communications to include managing the district's Milorganite marketing program; its computer department; a household hazardous waste pickup program; and records." Milorganite is MMSD's name for the sewage sludge it markets as fertilizer.