went to press this week with a story about the Air Force Academy's hiring of a crisis communications expert
, we heard from the academy about how many public affairs personnel work there. We raised the question in light of our story in Wednesday's edition about Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson
hiring a consultant to promote the academy's image.
The consultant is Larry Holdren, owner of Holdren Strategic Communications LLC. Another firm with which Holdren was affiliated, Pure Brand Communications, conducted some kind of audit of the academy's communications department in 2014. We asked for that audit, but haven't received it yet.
We also asked how many people work in the academy's Public Affairs office, which which the academy replied in an email with this:
The United States Air Force Academy has 10 Public Affairs specialists currently assigned (active duty officers, active duty enlisted, and DOD civilians). The Public Affairs operating budget is approximately $30 thousand annually.
We asked the academy to clarify the dollar figure, because "$30 thousand" is only $30,000, and we seriously doubt you could hire 10 people with that measly amount.
Upon questioning, the academy responded with this: "Of course, that doesn't include salaries, which are paid out of other funds."
So we're left not knowing how much the academy actually pays for its public affairs staff, nor what Larry Holdren is being paid for filling in the gaps or whatever it is he does.
Like nailing Jello to the wall, eh?