Staff Report

Solvang has hired Kady Fleckenstein of Kadydid Consulting to fill a new position as the city’s public information officer.

The Solvang City Council directed Special City Auditor Thomas Widroe, who was recently hired to examine the city’s structure and operations, to recruit a public information officer to enhance communications with the community. 

The council assigned a one-time discretionary budget allocation of $15,000 to the position in the city’s2019-20 budget.

“Hiring a public relations contractor was one of the City Council’s goals set at their retreat held on June 22, and we are excited to start communicating all of the great projects the city is currently working on,” Mayor Ryan Toussaint said.

Widroe said he interviewed public relations firms and made a recommendation based on price, availability and experience. Based on his recommendation, City Manager David Gassaway hired Fleckenstein.

“Ms. Fleckenstein has communications expertise and … boasts (an) extensive network of relationships with local businesses, media and community leaders,” Widroe said. “Her background in marketing, public relations and tourism makes her uniquely qualified for this position.”

Fleckenstein has lived in the Santa Ynez Valley since 2007. She became executive director of Santa Maria Valley Wine Country in 2008 and held the same position with Visit the Santa Ynez Valley in 2010. Starting in 2014 she was the brand director of Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company for several years. She then returned to the wine industry as chief operating officer of Universal Wine Alliance and general manager of Wooler Brands.

 “We’re thrilled to have Kadydid Consulting to advise us on both strategy and assessment. She will also provide ad hoc services to handle current media and public relations needs,” Gassaway said.