It was revealed Monday that San Luis Obispo County spent more than $20,000 to hire a local media firm to help deal with the public relations crisis that resulted from the publication of video showing Andrew Holland’s death in the county jail.
County Supervisor Adam Hill shared with KSBY an email from County Administrative Officer Wade Horton detailing the hiring of AMF Media Group:
When the jail video was released, the Administrative Office and County Counsel worked quickly to respond to media inquiries, to address safety concerns and death threats to our employees and to provide information to the public about what the County has done and continues to do to address mental health issues in our jails and our community. In order to assist us, we hired AFM [sic] Media (formally Barnett and Cox) [sic] to provide advice on how to most quickly, efficiently and clearly address this serious matter.
Value of services was $21,625.
The decision to use taxpayer money in this manner does not sit well with Supervisor Hill or the family of Andrew Holland. Hill wrote:
This is very disappointing to find out, Wade. And to find out in this manner is even more disappointing. While you may not have to check with the Board on such matters, let me tell you right now I find this and other attempts to ‘handle’ this tragic issue to be distasteful, counter-productive, and biased.
The Law Offices of J. Tavener Holland, representing the Holland Family Alliance, reacted with this statement, shared with The Tribune:
Hasn’t Parkinson cost the taxpayers enough? Exactly how much money must we spend trying to make his increasingly desperate statements appear to be true? No PR firm in the world can make a lie the truth and no PR firm can put polish on a homicide. Board majority, you’re on notice. When are you going to stop permitting the continuing cover-up and County-sponsored protection of Ian Parkinson? Just how bad does it have to get before you will put the County back to work for its citizens instead of its politicians? Enough already.
The Holland family, which received $5 million from the county in a settlement after Andrew’s death, has donated tens of thousands of dollars to campaigns to unseat Supervisor Lynn Compton, Sheriff Ian Parkinson and District Attorney Dan Dow in the upcoming June 5 Primary Election.
- Exclusive: SLO County Sheriff Ian Parkinson talks about the death of jail inmate Andrew Holland
- Video published showing final moments of SLO County Jail inmate’s life
- Parents of SLO County inmate who died: ‘It was more than neglect. It was torture’
- Coroner: SLO County Jail inmate died shortly after being restrained for nearly two days
- SLO County announces $5 million settlement, jail changes over death of inmate Andrew Holland
- SLO County officials, sheriff’s office working to improve jail conditions for mentally ill inmates
- Andrew Holland’s family donates $50k to sheriff, DA candidates
- Holland family puts $40,000 into effort to unseat Supervisor Lynn Compton