Did you hear about the game-changing “We Are Built in San Jose” announcement on Wednesday? When it landed in San Jose Inside’s inbox, our first reactions was:
Why did Mayor Sam Liccardo get rid of his new spokesperson after just 10 weeks?
First reported by the Mercury News’ City Hall reporter Ramona Giwargis—see how giving credit works, Merc, it ain’t that hard—the mayor’s public information officer (PIO), Michelle Young, had her last day Aug. 7. Young’s first day on the job was May 26, according to interim PIO and longtime Liccardo staffer Ragan Henninger.
“I can’t say anything specific about what happened to Michelle, because it’s a personnel matter, but I can talk about We Are Built in San Jose,” Henninger said.
Liccardo’s new incentives to improve local manufacturing include expediting the permit approval process to 60 days, slashing building and constructions taxes to 1 percent, et cetera, et cetera.
Young had almost no political background when she took the role of spokesperson for the mayor of the 10th biggest city in the nation. She came over from the athletic department of Santa Clara University, which made her an odd hire in the first place. But Liccardo’s team did an extensive search before giving Young the position, and we’re coming off the slowest period of the year, the summer recess, so something obviously went terribly wrong.
In a meeting with San Jose Inside staff last month, Young said she hoped to streamline Liccardo’s answers in media sessions so he wouldn’t stray from set talking points. The mayor is a notorious stickler for having his words his way, so perhaps it’s a situation of a new employee trying keep him from winging it. And this bird you cannot cage!
Attempts to reach Young went straight to voicemail. Henninger said she could not talk about a possible severance package for the late PIO, so, for now, we’ll have to wait and see if this is just the latest City Hall buyout.