DeRondal Bevly

The Village of Forest Park has contracted Chicago-based RubyRose Strategies, a  communications firm, to develop its strategies of reaching both residents and a wider audience.

According to village documents, the primary goal is to bring more attention to Forest Park, get the word out about what the village government is doing and figuring out how to get more investments and other support for the village. The village council unanimously approved the agreement during its Sept. 13 meeting. The agreement took effect on Sept. 15 and will run until March 31, 2022. 

Forest Park currently gets information out through its newsletter, website and a Facebook page. Until Sept. 15, it didn’t have any employee or contractor whose only job was to handle communications. According to the memo to the village council, the village is looking to expand its social media presence, since a growing number of people get their news and information through social media, as well as “further utilize its existing e-newsletter platform.” Other areas that they wanted to improve on included community engagement, public relations and “strategic and crisis communications.”

RubyRose was founded by DeRondal Bevly, a public relations professional who has worked for a number of clients. Most notably, he served as spokesperson for Fritz Kaegi’s successful 2018 Cook County Assessor campaign. Bevly is also involved with several nonprofit organizations. In the western suburbs, he serves as a mentor at Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation’s Leadership Lab. 

According to the contract documents, RubyRose will look at Forest Park’s existing public outreach and develop “the overall direction of the communication strategy” that would advance the village’s “key issues and goals,” make sure all the information is shared across the board and figure out ways to improve communications. It would also look at community outreach, media relations, crisis management and social media usage. Finally, it would look the village’s “previous engagement initiatives” to see what worked and what didn’t.

RubyRose will be paid $75 an hour, and it would work no more than 13 hours a month – which would add up to $975 a month.  If September counts as a full month, RubyRose would be paid $5,850 – $6,000 for the term of the contract.

Either party can terminate the contract for any reason, so long as they give a seven-day notice.

Other than Commissioner Ryan Nero double-checking the length of the contract, the council approved the agreement without discussion.