POCATELLO — City Public Information Officer Logan McDougall is resigning from his position effective Oct. 8.
McDougall confirmed his resignation to the Idaho State Journal on Monday. When asked to comment on his decision to leave the city, McDougall emailed the following statement:
“My decision to seek employment elsewhere is by no means a reflection on Mayor Brian Blad, City Council members Heidi Adamson, Linda Leeuwrik and Rick Cheatum, or any city staff. They have all been kind beyond measure and I am happy to consider them friends. An opportunity became available that aligns with my interests and I am excited for this new chapter in my career. Additionally, statements by some members of the City Council and the ‘hit list’ have led me to question whether I would have continued employment at the city after November’s election. It has been an honor and privilege to be trusted to tell the stories of the city of Pocatello. I will be forever proud of all that we have accomplished at the city and I thank Mayor Blad, my supervisor Anne Nichols, and all the city staff I have worked with over the past six years for their help. It has always been a team effort.”
When asked to elaborate on the statements some council members said leading up to his resignation, McDougall said there have been several, one of which was made during a setting that was not recorded or preserved in any way so he declined to comment further. McDougall did direct the Idaho State Journal to a May 13 City Council work session regarding another statement that influenced his decision.
During that May 13 meeting, council member Christine Stevens asked Blad who would be the person or group to ensure the city’s economic development webpage was updated to include information from the Bannock Development Corp. website, which was undergoing an overhaul.
In speaking about the needed enhancements to the city’s webpage including links to other important local and regional economic development resources, Stevens said that considering the then-current state of the webpage, “I am assuming we don’t know how to do that or do not have an administrative mechanism to come up with that kind of information. … We have a publicity officer that, I don’t get the sense given his job history and so forth, has any particular expertise in digital advertising.”
Mayor Blad responded to the question, indicating that McDougall as well as the city’s information technology department were both well-equipped to handle updating any of the city’s webpages, including one specific to economic development.
“Other than Logan’s past experience, I am not questioning the quality and capacity of our employees,” Stevens replied during the meeting. “I am questioning the fact that we have not had for many years an administrative process or infrastructure that resulted in a quality economic development portion of our website.”
Stevens said during the meeting that her line of questioning was “not about whether or not we have adequate employees,” it was about “what kind of administrative direction they are being given, exactly who is going to be in charge and what the process is” for redeveloping or enhancing city of Pocatello webpages.
When asked for comment regarding her statements during the meeting and McDougall’s resignation, Stevens said, “What Logan decides to do or not do has purely to do with him. Every individual is in charge of his or her own choices. I cast no aspersions on Logan. I was specifically asking the mayor why our economic development page was so seriously out of date showing Hoku from 2002.”
The Journal also reached out to council member Claudia Ortega for comment regarding McDougall mentioning a “hit list” as one of his reasons for resigning. The “hit list” was a list of about 30 city employees Ortega identified as “potential positions to eliminate for streamlining purposes” during the city’s budget development process earlier this year. McDougall was one of the employees on Ortega’s list.
“I wish him well,” Ortega said when contacted Monday.
McDougall, who had worked as the city’s spokesperson since 2015, said he has accepted an offer to become the executive director of college relations for Idaho State University’s College of Science and Engineering. As the city’s spokesperson, McDougall earned an annual salary of just over $66,000.
During his time at the city, McDougall received four awards from the Idaho Press Club, including three first place awards, and two City Achievement Awards from the Association of Idaho Cities. McDougall was also instrumental in the city’s flag redesign process and participated in a TEDx Idaho Falls program about the flag redesign.
Blad said that following McDougall’s last day with the city on Oct. 8, all city department heads should begin expecting calls from the media because no dedicated city spokesperson will be in place to field those inquiries. Additionally, the mayor’s office will be reaching out to department heads for any updates or news releases that need to be distributed to the media.
The city is expected to advertise and fill McDougall’s position after the November election, said Blad, who characterized McDougall’s departure as a tremendous loss for the Gate City.
“The best way to say it is that Logan is an incredible professional that will be missed at the city level more than people can recognize right now,” Blad said. “I’m disappointed that the environment is the way that it is right now that Logan feels he needs to look for a new job, but I understand his desire to feel secure and to be able to take care of his family. The city has lost an incredible employee and one that will be very difficult for the city to replace.”