“The City's Business Development Action Plan identifies the creation of a City Economic Development web site as part of our overall business development program,” said Kilger in the email. “Part of that program includes marketing Benicia to outside businesses to encourage them to locate their operations here.”
The email went on to say, “Staff was approached by CGI (the City did not seek them out) to develop a video that included testimonials by some of our local businesses, which as you know is one of the most valuable attraction tools for cities to use, next to having low lease rents and buildings that accommodate their operations.”
In a , local videographer and Patch complained that the city outsourced the video production work when there are local video production companies that could do the same work.
According to Kilger, CGI Communications won’t charge the Benicia for the videos but will try to sell sponsorships to local business people. If no business wants to buy a sponsorship, CGI will still produce the video.
A letter dated May 15, 2012 announcing the program says that “CGI will be contacting members of the local business community to offer participation in the program, as well as an opportunity to learn more about CGI’s innovative new digital media products for businesses.”
Jack Wolf of Wolf Communications, the City’s tourism consultant wasn’t aware of the CGI agreement or that the city is planning to add videos to the VisitBenicia.org website. Wolf Communications oversaw development of the City’s tourism website.
Economic Development Director Mario Giuliani who negotiated the deal with CGI Communications is out of town and unavailable for comment.
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