WILKES-BARRE — City Hall has a new spokesperson.
Mayor Tom Leighton Tuesday announced the hiring of Liza Prokop as community relations coordinator, effective immediately.
Prokop, 36, a 15-year resident of the city, will be in charge of organizing all city special events, writing press releases and coordinating all media requests for information or interviews with administration personnel, among other duties.
Prokop, a graduate of Wilkes University, previously worked for Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Wilkes-Barre YMCA before joining the city. She is originally from Pittston.
In a release sent out Tuesday afternoon, Leighton said the city conducted a thorough interview process after advertising the position online. Prokop’s starting salary is $35,000. She can be reached at 570-208-4149 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I’m really excited,” she said. “This is what I majored in in college — public relations and writing.”
Prokop said she is looking forward to working on special events with Lore Majikes, special events coordinator, who announced earlier this year that she intends to retire from her part-time position later this year.
Leighton said Majikes’ duties were combined with Drew McLaughlin’s former duties as administrative coordinator. McLaughlin was named municipal affairs manager and given a $5,000 increase to $45,000 when Leighton announced several changes in April to his staff.
In his new position, Leighton said, McLaughlin will focus on developing new city policy and initiatives with a focus on improving government efficiency and the quality of the community. Leighton said McLaughlin also will monitor state and federal legislation that will impact the city and advocate for policy changes or defend existing policies or regulations that benefit residents. He will be the chief liaison with state and federal officials, among other duties.
When Leighton announced the administrative changes, he said he felt the new structure would improve government efficiency and service to city taxpayers.
“Basically, we have less people and we are asking them to do more,” Leighton said in April, noting there are fewer employees at City Hall than when he took office in 2004. Overall, then there were 300 employees in the city and now there are 265, he said.