City Councilman Jack Kelly explained today that he needs to hire an outside media consultant, paid for by a city contract, to help raise his profile on City Council. Kelly said he has been criticized by the press for having a "low profile" so he should not now be criticized for trying to raise his profile.
"It's not many dollars to begin with," Kelly added after Council wrapped up its weekly session. "It's very little really." The Daily News last week reported that Kelly asked Council President Anna Verna this month to approve a $25,000-per-year contract for political operative Frank Keel, who has done communications work for then-Mayor Street and Kelly's re-election campaign. Verna's office told Kelly he had to put the contract out for bid. Kelly yesterday said he is trying to get at least three or four bids.
While Kelly said his new media consultant would play a public role, the motive for making the hire has nothing to do with the fact that his chief of staff, Chris Wright, campaign treasurer and two big-time political contributors were indicted last month. Wright is accused of using his City Hall office to help his co-defendants in return for bribes and favors.
"I have attorneys for that," Kelly said. "That's not a public relations issue. That's a legal matter."