SLO County hired PR help after Holland jail death video was published

Posted at 9:11 PM, Apr 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-10 00:11:27-04

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.

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