Encinitas’ communications officer steps down


Marlena Medford, the city’s first communications officer, submitted her resignation May 18.

In an email this week, Medford said she was stepping down to pursue an opportunity in communications consulting.

“That’s coupled with the fact that I have a 2-year-old daughter, so a flexible working schedule is especially alluring,” Medford said. “Ultimately, I felt this would help my long-term career goals, while also improving my work-life balance.”

During her 18-month stint with the city, Medford notably supported public outreach efforts for the reboot of the housing element — a blueprint for land use — by meeting with local stakeholders, coordinating media briefings, facilitating community meetings and writing copy for informational materials.

In March, she earned two statewide awards for Excellence in Communications from the California Association of Public Information Officials. One was for public participation regarding the housing element and the other for the 2014 citywide communications plan.

Medford was the point person for media inquiries. She also redesigned the city’s newsletter, and launched and managed the city’s Facebook page, as well as its Twitter and Instagram accounts. And the city is a few weeks away from launching a hotline for Spanish-speaking residents, which was included in her communications plan.

Interim City Manager Larry Watt said the next city manager, in consultation with the council, will decide in the next month or two whether to hire someone to fill the position. Meanwhile, once Medford leaves, her duties will be split up among staff, according to Watt.

Medford believes the city should find a successor.

“As a former journalist, I know it is essential to have a point person for reporters,” Medford said. She added that a communications officer can work to provide the public with more ways to be engaged on a civic level and to step up in times of crisis to ensure the public and media are getting important information.

Prior to taking on the communications officer role, Medford was the editor of the online news site Encinitas Patch, and before that, the associate editor of the Del Mar Times and Solana Beach Sun. Her last day with the city is May 29.

“I have gained a sincere appreciation for how hard city staff works,” Medford said.