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Phoenix council revokes media contact policy

The Phoenix City Council decided to rescind its media policy Monday night.

The council voted unanimously to revoke the recently enacted policy that prohibits council members and city staff from talking to the press.

They also voted to rescind the consensus decision that the council agreed to on January 31. At that time the council agreed in a workshop that the mayor should be their voice for important matters such as the Home Depot project.

At last night's meeting two council members admonished Mayor Vicki Bear for issuing the policy without having them read it over first.

The Phoenix City Council was unaware of the memo titled 'Media Contact' until after its distribution to city employees, department heads and the media until February 28, 2005, said council member Dean Martin at last night's meeting. This 'media contact' memo, as written and signed by Mayor Bear, would have never been distributed in its current form, had it been reviewed by the entire council first.

— Council member Steve Schulman also spoke out against Bear's policy, and the way she went about enacting it.

In show business, they say any publicity, even bad, is good as long as they spell your name right, he said. Unfortunately, the publicity this city is getting is neither beneficial nor good.

Schulman introduced a motion that would have designated a spokesperson on a case-by-case basis.

However, instead the council agreed to rescind the policy and the original consensus decision that enacted the media policy in the first place.

Mayor Bear apologized for issuing the employee policy without first asking the council about it.

Did I err in putting out the memo, absolutely, she said. I should have put it out for the council first.

Mayor Bear said after the meeting that she thought the council would revisit this issue at a future meeting.