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Local News

County’s Approved Budget Cuts Communications Director Position

The move will save the county $230,000, of which $125,000 covers William Boyer's salary

In their recently adopted budget, Santa Barbara County officials eliminated William Boyer’s position of communications director, and reallocated all general fund money from the county executive office’s communications office.

Boyer’s position costs the county $230,000, about $125,000 of which is his salary. The rest covers advertising, public service announcements and office supplies, he has said.

Even as early as March, the position was questioned by the county Board of Supervisors. First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal questioned the necessity of the position since the responsibilities had been performed by supervisors’ staff before Boyer’s position was created in 2006.

The communications director position was created then after a grand jury report revealed the county’s emergency outreach and notifications were inadequate.

It’s not clear who will take on Boyer’s responsibilities now that the position has been eliminated, but Boyer will serve as the public information officer for the California Workforce Investment Board. How that position will be funded remains unclear.

In addition to responding to media requests, Boyer acts as the chief public information officer during emergencies, coordinates information internally and with state and federal agencies, and helps with outreach efforts such as the U.S. Census. In his time as communications director, he formed a memorandum of understanding with radio broadcasters regarding emergencies and works with local public television stations.

Besides working with The Santa Barbara Channels, Boyer has worked on having the county’s Channel 20 provide emergency public information to the public and provide live, remote broadcasting. It also has won national awards through the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors, he said.

Before getting into government public affairs, Boyer was a journalist, writing and editing for the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Times, among other publications.

He came to Santa Barbara County after being the public information officer for the city of Roseville.

Many county departments have PIOs of their own, including the Sheriff’s Department, County Fire and the Public Health Department. Of the county’s news releases listed on its site for June, 11 of 34 listed Boyer as the person to contact.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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