BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Early Thursday morning, the Buffalo School Board voted against hiring former Buffalo TV reporter Lorey Schultz as a new $115,000 public relations specialist for the district. Board members casted six "no" votes, and two "yes" votes. Board member Florence Johnson did not cast a vote.
Schultz, who most recently worked in communications for Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, was hired earlier this month by superintendent Dr. Pamela Brown. Since the position was not included in this year's budget, the school board had to vote on the hire before it was made official.
Although the board did not discuss Schultz's situation until 11:53 p.m. -- close to five and a half hours after the meeting began -- several members spoke passionately about the topic. Brown urged the board to approve the hire, claiming that the district needs to better facilitate its relationship with the media and community. She also cited her experience in previous school districts and said she had not worked in a district without multiple public relations liasons.
Theresa Harris-Tigg said she understood the need, but that in this current economic climate, "we can't have it all."
"It's hard to justify to parents, this kind of cost for that [job]," she said.
The district currently has a staffer, Elena Cala, who handles public and media relations. Her salary was recently increased to more than $82,500.