Pocatello public information officer resigns amid criticism and inclusion on ‘hit list’
POCATELLO — The city of Pocatello’s award-winning public information officer has tendered his resignation, effective Oct. 8.
Logan McDougall has been the city’s PIO since June 2015, and has been honored for his work by the Idaho Press Club several times including back-to-back top honors in the “Public Relations, News Release – PR” category in 2020 and 2021.
But criticism received of late from some members of the city council has led him to seek other employment.
“My decision to seek employment elsewhere is by no means a reflection on Mayor (Brian) Blad, city council members (Heidi) Adamson, (Linda) Leeuwrik, and (Rick) Cheatum or any city staff,” he said in a statement. “They have all been kind beyond measure and I am happy to consider them friends.”
Council members Claudia Ortega and Chris Stevens have upset some city employees recently with what is being called a “hit list” — a list of city employees and positions that they want the council to consider for potential cuts. Cuts, both councilmembers say, should be considered in the best interest of the city.
That list led McDougall to consider his options.
“An opportunity became available that aligns with my interests and I am excited for this new chapter in my career,” his release reads. “Additionally, statements by some members of the city council and the ‘hit list’ have led me to question whether I would have continued employment at the city after November’s election.”
McDougall was singled out by Stevens at the May 13 Pocatello City Council work session — seen here. At the council meeting, Stevens addressed what she believed to be a lack of experience on McDougall’s part in digital advertising, particularly when it comes to the economic development portion of the city website.
Blad was quick to defend McDougall and the rest of the city staff.
“You’re absolutely wrong about our PIO,” Blad responded. “He absolutely can do any of the things that we need him to do.”
Blad continued, saying McDougall and city staff have the capability to “revamp” the website if needed but added that he feels the website “looks pretty darn good” and that “it does a lot of things that it didn’t do before.”
Council chairman Adamson expanded, telling Stevens, who is in her first term as a member of the council, that current staff has the capability to do whatever is needed, and that all they need is a direction from the council.
“Before you got on the council, we had a lot of conversations about the website, and different things, and that’s what prompted the refresh that just happened,” Adamson said.
Stevens responded, saying she didn’t want to be misunderstood on the matter.
“Other than Logan’s past experience, I am not questioning the quality and capacity of our employees,” she said.
McDougall’s experience has now landed him a job at Idaho State University.
In a statement provided to EastIdahoNews.com, Blad said of McDougall’s pending departure:
“Logan’s resignation is a tremendous loss to the city and to our citizens,” he said. “Given the current climate, however, we certainly understand and support his decision. We all wish him well at Idaho State University, and we are excited to see how he moves the College of Science and Engineering forward.”
“It has been an honor and privilege to be trusted to tell the stories of the city of Pocatello,” McDougall says in his release. “I will be forever proud of all that we have accomplished at the city and I thank Mayor Blad, my supervisor Anne Nichols, and all the city staff I have worked with over the past six years for their help. It has always been a team effort.”