Schools Tap Investigative Reporter As Spokesman

Christopher Hoffman, a news reporter-turned-press aide to former Attorney General Dick Blumenthal, has joined New Haven’s public schools as the new official spokesman.

Hoffman starts Tuesday as the New Haven Public Schools’ director of communications, filling a spot left vacant by Michelle Wade. He’ll make a salary of $78,793.

News of his appointment came on a day when the district announced the threat of as many as 190 layoffs next school year and some this year as well.

Superintendent Reggie Mayo said while he has declined to fill other vacancies, he considers the communications position to be “critical.”

Hoffman worked for many years at the New Haven Register, where he made a reputation as an investigative reporter. He served as Attorney General Blumenthal’s last official spokesman, through the end of his term in 2010. Hoffman also wrote a five-part series last year for the Independent on the heyday of New Haven’s mafia.

Hoffman is the second former Register reporter to end up on the city payroll in the past year. The previous snag was Elizabeth Benton, who moved from covering City Hall and the schools to working as Mayor John DeStefano’s legislative aide.

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posted by: really? on February 15, 2011  4:17pm

really?  they’re going to pay him $78,793 to announce all the future layoffs?  i can do that for a fraction of the price.

posted by: Cedarhillresident on February 15, 2011  4:43pm


posted by: CBA on February 15, 2011  5:36pm

While the City must lay off teachers, the Board of Education goes out and hires a flack publicist.  This absurdity in its truest form.  Mayo has to go!!!!!

posted by: Elaine Braffman on February 15, 2011  6:26pm

I am gravely concerned for employees that are facing lay offs very soon and the residents that will feel the impact of these eliminations. It is the rank and file employees that are being terminated through these lay offs. They are the ones that roll up their sleeves and get things done.  I would think it is the police,teachers,support staff for code inspectors and schools, along with custodians and other positions of the like that are critical to this city to keep it healthy. This is not the time to be hiring. Dr.Mayo needs to be the spokes-person for the school system in these hard times…not a new hire. Very disappointed with this news.

posted by: Cedarhillresident on February 15, 2011  7:30pm

I am still in awe! We are about to lay off teachers. No matter if the funds come from the general or elsewhere, one has to wonder if this is the ultimate thumbing of the nose. Don’t we already have Emily and Liza doing this?. Do we need some one else?..

can we get more info on what justifications do they have for this hire, is it an essential? is it really critical?

Maybe if they do all the layover, they will need this guy to fences off the press? More info please.

posted by: Doubleduty on February 15, 2011  8:08pm

I thought these duties belonged to William Clark.  He makes $146,000 why can’t he be the spokesperson. This guy is only going to be a puppet for William Clarke and Dr. Mayo.

Another employee of the register receive a job.  The Editor’s wife works for the City in the Department of Corporation Counsel. ...

I wonder what happened to the hiring freeze?

posted by: lance on February 15, 2011  8:33pm

spin doctors don’t come cheap evidently.

posted by: Noteworthy on February 15, 2011  9:16pm

There are two main spokespeople for the city - the BOE and Joseph at City Hall. We don’t need either one. It is a waste of $200K including benefits. The mayor should be speaking for himself and Mayo should as well. These times if they ever did, require frank, honest and direct conversations with the public unfiltered by prepared statements. It’s past time to directly manage departments, directly speak on behalf of the city administration and quit playing hide and seek with their responsibilities and their decisions.

posted by: unprotected on February 16, 2011  8:48am

could have saved 2 rookie cops or 1.4 teachers

posted by: Sols on February 16, 2011  9:50am

funny how this position doesn’t even appear in the budget presented at the same BdEd meeting… just another example of how fake and deceptive the overpaid admins are…... and the BdEd who approved it without question is much worse… they are supposed to represent us, and they don’t even look at the documents!

posted by: Shiney Top on February 16, 2011  11:04am

Not only is this a slap in the face to the Unions but even worse the taxpayers.In this shared sacrifice shared pain campaign going on by the higher ups.What we really see is the destruction of the middle class people. Geez are we to believe Reggie can talk himself.