The average person may not see huge differences between the old University City logo and the new one. But they don't see what Council member Paulette Carr sees: Procedural noncompliance!
The concerns she raised resulted in a rejection of the slightly rejiggered logo at this week's city council meeting -- despite the fact that it's already been splashed across the city and campus with new metal signs and cloth banners from streetlights.
"I'm not going to take the signs down," said city manager Lehman Walker yesterday afternoon, with not just a touch of exasperation.
In last summer's budget, the city council approved a $100,000 contract with a PR firm, whose duties included handling the city's media and redesigning the logo. The firm added the blue and green, and the phrase "Neighborhood to the World." The new signage was purchased for $8,800 and hung around the city in March.
After Carr got elected in the last elections, she questioned why the city council never voted to approve the logo change. She says that's how the original logo was adopted in the '70s.
"We must do it in compliance with our charter and that means a council vote," she says. "Since we never voted to adopt this particular design, it never was our city logo."
Carr says at Monday's council meeting, she was just trying to raise the issue for discussion when another member abruptly brought the matter to a vote -- either adopt the logo or don't. She joined the majority, and voted the logo down 4-3.
As a result, on Tuesday crews began removing cloth banners from street lights. The metal signs remain, since they are more difficult to remove, and city staff is continuing to use existing stock of stationary with the old logo.
There is a chance that the blue and green logo will get official council approval at a meeting on June 25, but if further tweaks to the design are demanded, the new signs may be a loss. Carr says she doesn't "read University City" in the new design, and is concerned that the original designer of the lion-and-tiger image never gave his blessing.
Mayor Shelley Welsch, who approved the redesign and worked with Walker on its implementation, says she's hopeful the design will simply sail through to approval later this month.
"I think it's a shame what happened at the City Council meeting," she says. "I was very proud and pleased by the logo and brand platform."
Asked whether she's concerned about the potential loss of money for the city -- for the signs, for labor in putting them up and taking them down, and for the cost of the PR firm -- Carr stands her ground.
"I questioned us spending the money on this. I was told that's the way rebranding is done," she says. "The money that was spent was not my choice."
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