01/05/12 — City hires new PR director

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City hires new PR director

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on January 5, 2012 1:46 PM

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Kimberly Best

Goldsboro officials have chosen the former community service and public relations director of the Partnership for Children of Wayne County as the city's first public information officer.

Kimberly Best will fill the position Mayor Al King and other members of the City Council have said has been years in the making.

Mrs. Best will be in charge of coordinating the city's public message, including producing and managing content for the government access channel and the city website.

Mrs. Best, 46, who is the mother of Miss North Carolina Hailey Best, said she was interested in the job because as a lifelong Wayne County native she understands the importance of community involvement, so when she heard the city was looking for a public information officer, she began looking around at other towns.

"I saw that almost every other community had a PIO, and I was very excited about the fact that Goldsboro decided it was time to get one. I think it could be a new leadership role that could cause our city to know what is going on in the community," she said.

But the drive to give back to the city she's known her entire life, she said, comes mostly from her parents' emphasis on activism.

"My parents taught me that volunteerism develops a person's character and camaraderie so I've always been heavily involved in community," she said.

And she intends to be as involved within the city government as she has been with her community.

"I want to get to know as many of the city employees as possible and for them to see me as an extension of their department. My goal is to know everyone by name," she said.

But while memorizing more than 400 names is a lofty goal, her first, she said, will be to work with the staff to figure out exactly what her job will entail.

"All the department heads and I and the city manager and the assistant city manager will develop a strategic plan about how this position should work," she said. "We'll know the plan, and its purpose and I have the passion for it."

Mrs. Best said after 17 years at SGM, handling publicity and marketing, and eight years at the Partnership for Children of Wayne County, this next position falls right in line with her goals.

"This is just the next step for me perfectly," she said. "I'm up to this new challenge of keeping the communications streaming forward. It will have its challenges, but I think this position can be like the rope that holds a group together."

Besides her jobs, she also has been involved with the Goldsboro Rotary Club, Stagestruck theater, the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Wayne County and the area's Military Affairs Committee.

A graduate of Southern Wayne High, she went on to get her degree in community service and public relations at East Carolina in 1989.

"She's a real good fit. She knows the community," said Scott Stevens, Goldsboro city manager.

Stevens, along with the human resources director and assistant city manager, made the decision to hire Mrs. Best out of a pool of 29 applicants. Though five interviews were scheduled, just three candidates were interviewed after two dropped out.

The public information officer position, newly created this year, has a minimum salary of $43,826 and a maximum of $62,609. Mrs. Best will be paid $58,000 annually and is scheduled to begin work Feb. 15.

Roughly half of the position's annual pay, $30,000, was factored into this year's budget to allow for the hire.

Stevens said Wednesday that Mrs. Best had asked for the city to keep her hire quiet until Friday, although the Partnership for Children of Wayne County began advertising for someone to replace her Wednesday. Mrs. Best received her offer Dec. 29. She notified the director of the Partnership of her leaving Monday and returned her employment offer letter to the city Jan. 2.

Other applicants received letters Dec. 30 indicating that the position had been filled.