Press release announcing my appointment

This is a press release I wrote announcing my appointment to Governor Evan Mecham’s staff, to be issued by my predecessor, Ron Bellus. At the time, I was making frequent trips to Phoenix from Sacramento, while cleaning up loose ends at the old job and getting ready for the new one. Because of the political and media chaos, I didn’t get to know Bellus well until later. I understood that Bellus being fired, sacrificed, was an effort to calm the clamor of Republicans in the state legislature. I wrote the press release while I was still in Sacramento, then sent it to Bellus by email. It must have been tough, so I still admire Bellus for putting his name on a press release announcing his own dismissal.

– Ken Smith


Sept. 00, 1987

Capitol Building
Phoenix, Arizona 80007
Ron Bellus, Press Secretary
(602) 255-4331

Governor Evan Mecham today named Kenneth V. Smith of Sacramento, Calif., as his Special Assistant for Public Affairs. His duties will include assisting the governor in marketing Arizona for projects such as the federally-funded $5.4 billion Superconducting Super Collider.

He also will assume the press secretary responsibilities of Ron Bellus, who has served Mecham throughout the campaign last year and for the first nine months of his administration.

Smith, 46, has been the Director of Public Affairs for the County Supervisors Association of California since 1984. He has extensive experience in journalism, public affairs, systems analysis, business and government relations.

“Ken’s background is a perfect fit as I continue building my team to promote the business potential of Arizona throughout the nation and the world,” Mecham said. “He understands the particular needs, pressures and relationships of the news media, government and the private sector.”

For the county supervisors’ organization, Smith was responsible for news media relations in legislative and public affairs campaigns. He also was the editor of California County magazine.

While with the county association, Smith served on the board of directors of the California Foundation for Community Service Cable Television and on the advisory board of the Government Technology Conference.

“Ken has been a working journalist and he is very knowledgeable about the processes of government,” Mecham said. “Best of all, he shares my enthusiasm about the need to communicate with the people of Arizona.”

Smith previously worked in Sacramento for eight years for the corporation which publishes the Los Angeles Daily Journal, the Los Angeles Daily Commerce and the Sacramento Daily Recorder newspapers. He held several positions, including editor and publisher of the Recorder, legal and legislative affairs reporter for the Daily Journal, and banking and economic development writer for the Commerce. He also played a major role in designing the newspapers’ computer network.

He was a systems analyst for Search Group, Inc., a criminal justice data management consulting firm. He also was a contract consultant to the California Bureau of Criminal Statistics and the American Justice Institute.

Earlier in his career, Smith was the director of public relations for the National Council of Juvenile Court Judges. He also worked for the Reno Evening Gazette and United Press International.

Smith has a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Southern California, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Nevada, Reno, and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of San Francisco. He also completed an intensive two-year course in the Chinese language at the Monterey Institute of Foreign Studies.

He has taught undergraduate public administration courses at USC’s Sacramento Campus. He also taught courses in photojournalism at the University of Nevada.

He is the co-author of two books, “Dictionary of Criminal Justice Data Terminology” and “Computer Applications in the Juvenile Justice System.” Smith edited Juvenile Justice, a quarterly professional journal, and has written dozens of magazine articles.

Combining work with his hobby over the years, he has had a number of photographs published in the New York Times, Time, Newsweek, and many other national and local magazines and newspapers.

His salary is $5,415 per month.