New city of Fort Smith public relations manager hired

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 2,762 views 

Josh Buchfink is the new public relations manager for the city of Fort Smith. He fills the position left vacant when Shari Cooper left the city Oct. 11. Cooper is now the director of communications at Fort Smith Public Schools.

The city hired Christina Williams on a temporary basis after Cooper’s departure to “keep the city’s positive communications momentum” going during the period it was without a public relations and communications manager.

Buchfink, who started with the city March 27, said as public relations manager, he will help establish a unified brand throughout the city.

“I will continue to establish relationships with the community and media personnel. My goal is to create compelling content that will drive positive engagement and awareness surrounding the city by showcasing what makes Fort Smith great,” Buchfink said.

He will manage the city’s social media and execute a variety of communications initiatives and efforts on behalf of the city, including its new website, a news release said.

“As of right now, a big focus will be the launch of our new website in the coming months. The new website is not only easier to navigate and more aesthetically pleasing than our current website, but it also better represents Fort Smith,” Buchfink said.

After five years of living and working in other cities, Buchfink returned to the Fort Smith area because “it is an incredible place to live, work, play, and raise a family,” he said. He has lived in the Fort Smith area for the past two years, most recently serving as associate pastor at The BOD Church in Roland.

Josh Buchfink

He was selected from eight candidates through a panel interview process. His skill set includes video editing, branding, social media and website management, content creation, strategic marketing campaign development, and process systems integration, the news release said.

“I am pleased to welcome Josh Buchfink to this role with the city. His background and experience in ministry coupled with his strong communications and marketing skill set will provide the city with a fresh perspective as we focus on our branding and the new website with Granicus,” said City Administrator Carl Geffken.

In the past year, the city purchased and implemented the GovDelivery application from Granicus, which has increased the amount of information it provides to residents, something Geffken says has been a success. The city provides information in 30 different areas. Citizens can sign up for alerts, emails, updates and agendas.

“The communications position is critical to the city. The amount of information we now provide has grown exponentially, and we not only want to continue with what we currently do but expand it to include video spots with the mayor, the board of directors, the city administrator, and the department heads,” Geffken said in December.