PR professional volunteers to help DMR

jphampton@sunherald.comJuly 26, 2013 

BILOXI -- Mississippi Power's Cindy Duvall will help the Department of Marine Resources develop a new public relations plan, the agency's head said Friday.

Duvall volunteered to help implement recommendations by Horne CPAs and Business Advisors, the firm that did a 60-day assessment of the agency, Executive Director Jamie Miller said.

"Cindy and I, of course, are long friends, we worked together at the agency together back in the '90s," he said. "I think in one of our phone conversations, I told her where we're at, what we're up to and was running some thoughts by her and asked if she'd could help us stand up some communications, public relations planning and she agreed to do it.

"This is just her personal time. Obviously she's got a full-time job at Mississippi Power. She's just going to volunteer probably a few hours a week just to help us put some things in place."

Duvall said she offered to help as a professional peer of spokeswoman Melissa Scallan, not as an employee of Mississippi Power. Duvall had been in the communications department at Mississippi Power until about four months ago when she moved to community development.

"This is me trying to provide her with any kind of background from my public relations background and experience," she said. "Melissa and I have a very good working relationship because of my role as a media professional."

Miller said he expects the work to last no longer than six weeks.

He said he didn't see a conflict of interest in an employee of Mississippi Power, which might have to apply for DMR permits, volunteering at DMR. "This is Cindy's personal time," he said. "We rely on volunteers to do a lot of work ... in terms of cleanups and helping out with fishing rodeos and other things."

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