California's troubled High Speed Rail effort has suspended a search for a new PR firm after Ogilvy quit its multimillion-dollar pact earlier this year.
Ogilvy resigned the contract in late June and is scheduled to wrap up its work on Dec. 19. The High Speed Rail Authority's board issued a new RFP for PR representation in October – after scuttling an August RFP – and eight firms responded. Seven pitches were deemed qualified for consideration.
Lance Simmens, deputy director of communications for the Authority, told the board Dec. 13 that management has undertaken an examination of its outreach efforts over the past several weeks and is exploring a proposal to consolidate efforts "into a more efficient and effective public outreach matrix," according to a copy of his memo to the board.
That plan could include the hiring of from six to 10 staffers to handle PR in-house.
Simmens recommended that the authority complete its review before considering a new PR contract.
The state's $98.5B plan to build a high-speed rail connection between Los Angeles and San Francisco has seen public support erode over the past year as cost estimates have soared.