The details aren't yet complete, but both the mayor's office and writer/PR guy David Leibowitz confirmed to New Times today that they're finalizing an agreement to have Leibowitz work for Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon.
Leibowitz will be helping Gordon, and the city, with communications -- from speech-writing to official statements to the occasional PR job.
The mayor's spokesman Gerardo Higginson said only that Leibowitz will do part-time work, hopefully starting this week.
Leibowitz, who was a bit more expansive, told New Times he'll be working roughly 10-20 hours a week for at least a few months, attempting to handle some of the duties formerly assigned to the mayor's longtime speech writer/spokesman Scott Phelps, who recently retired.
Despite Phelps' retirement, it would obviously be a really bad time for Mayor Gordon to hire on another full-time public relations guy. City departments are being asked to make 30 percent cuts, which clearly means job losses.
Hence the new hourly hire.
"You can't lay people off and hire them at the same time," Leibowitz agrees. "This a super-cost-effective way of getting somebody who can help them."
While both sides say they have yet to settle on an hourly rate, Leibowitz assures us it'll be a far cry from his usual $150 to $500 an hour. "I'm charging them a fraction of that," he says.
Leibowitz is a former columnist at the Arizona Republic and former radio talk show host. As we noted in a blog post last August, he recently left the downtown PR/advertising firm Moses Anshell to start his own company, Leibowitz Solo. Even more recently, he began writing a monthly column for PHOENIX Magazine.
But Gordon best not expect to see columns in PHOENIX Mag praising his political acumen.
"I'm not going to write anything about any of my clients," Leibowitz told us. "That would be insane. Anyway, as you know, there are so many stories in Maricopa County to be write about without writing about my clients."