Presque Isle hires digital expert to grow city’s image

3 weeks ago

A new city employee is part of a plan to promote Presque Isle beyond Aroostook County. 

Shawn Cunningham of Presque Isle, a former local television news anchor, is the city’s newly hired social media representative and digital content creator.  

As new businesses and industries boost the economy, and with state tourism data indicating growth in Aroostook County, City Manager Tyler Brown wants to help draw more people to Presque Isle. Cunningham’s position is a six-month experiment to see how promotion can benefit the effort.  

“If we want growth, we’ve got to promote it outside The County,” Brown said. “She is a temporary contractor for the city that we have hired to understand if social media and event promotion is the right avenue for us to go.”

Cunningham will work on a six-month contract, Brown said. Besides beefing up the city’s web presence, she will also help to secure entertainment at The Forum.

Cunningham declined to specify her salary. Brown said she did not want her salary disclosed, but the city researched similar positions to determine pay that was comparable in Maine and elsewhere.

Average yearly salaries in Maine for social media and digital content creators range from $44,000 to $74,000, according to employment marketplace ZipRecruiter.

The position is paid for by surplus funds in various departments, he said.

For instance, budgeted money for a deputy director of recreation and parks hasn’t been used because the position hasn’t been filled, Brown said. 

The city had another $26,659 in leftover salary and benefits when former Economic Development Director Galen Weibley left at the end of 2023, according to minutes of the Dec. 6 City Council meeting. 

Brown also clarified the city’s public information procedure.  

Media representatives were concerned last week when Cunningham told them people should contact Public Information Officer Kim Smith or herself instead of contacting city officials.

That procedure applies to emergencies or large-scale events, to ensure all information is accurate, Brown said. Smith, who is trained in incident command, is the go-to person in those cases.

“What this is meant to do is just make sure we’re all on the same page, that we all have accurate information and we’re able to serve the community in a positive way, especially during emergency situations,” he said. “That’s where our public information officer comes into play, that one source of truth that all information is filtered through.”

People should always feel free to contact their city officials and councilors, Brown said.