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CONTENTS

Page

Introduction

1143

1144

Synopsis
I. Public Information During Phase I ..

Explaining the program to the public

Creation of an Internal Information Net
The nature of the message

The legal message

The effective message
The use of Goodwill as a compliance strategy
Emphasis on public acceptance

Targeting of particular groups
The public relations sanction: teachers'

salaries, dividend rollbacks
Congressional relations .
Responding to Public Inquiries

General policies, specific answers
Responding at the national and local level

1148 1148 1148 1151 1151 1152 1153 1153 1153

1154 1155 1156 1156 1157

1159

1159

II. Public Information During Phase II ..

Change in the message: Effects on dissemination
of information
Getting information to the general public,

the media ....
Getting information to the regulatees

Problems with garnering public support
The public affairs approach

Introduction
The Cost of Living Council
The Pay Board

Public information at the Pay Board
The Pay Board Public Affairs Office

Responding to public inquiries
The Price Commission

1162 1162 1164 1165 1165 1166

1168 .. 1168

1169 1172 1174

Page

III. Public Communications During Phase III, Freeze II,

Phase IV: Communications in a Changing Program. 1179
The changing program message

1180
Phase III-defining the program

1180 Freeze II

1182 Phase IV

1182 Reaching the public

1183 Media relations-access strategy

1183 Public contact

1185 The general public

1185 Business ..

1189 The developed information program

1190 Freeze II

1190 Phase IV

1192 Public education

1193

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.

IV. Conclusions

The General Public
Regulatees

1194 1195 1196

1199 1199 1202 1203

V. Appendices

The Internal Revenue Service
The Correspondence Section
The Speakers’ Bureau ..
Public Perception of the Economic Stabilization

Program
Intra-Agency Memoranda on the Announcement

of Program Changes
The Press Reference Room

1204

1214 1222

Introduction This monograph describes the flow of information from the Economic Stabilization Program to the public. While discussing the efforts of the various public affairs offices forms a substantial part of the presentation, the focus of this essay is broader than public affairs and includes the dissemination of regulations and policies by the whole Stabilization Program to the regulated public. The major topic divisions follow changes in the organizational structure of the agencies rather than closely tracking each phase of the Program.

Synopsis Phase I

The immediate public information requirements of the Economic Stabilization Program were to make the public and regulated sectors aware of the existence and mechanics of the Freeze and to create public attitudes toward the program which would foster public acceptance and compliance.

In order to meet the burden of getting the message out, the Economic Stabilization Agencies created an information net which linked together the Cost of Living Council, Office of Emergency Preparedness, Internal Revenue Service, and the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service. This network was designed to provide the capability to transmit written messages among the several agencies and to provide computer records and data on the Stabilization Program. This network took time to put together, and there was much confusion and uneveness in coverage before it began to operate efficiently.

Legal notice of the existence of the Freeze was provided by Executive Order #11615 and the rules promulgated in the Federal Register. However, the effective message of the existence and details of the Freeze was carried to the regulated businesses by press releases which received wide media coverage, public speaking programs, television interviews, radio actualities, letter correspondence, publications, and, importantly, national and field network responses to telephone, personal, and written inquiries.

Voluntary compliance was viewed as critical to the success of the Freeze, and public acceptance was carefully cultivated. Letters were sent to major corporations asking for their compliance. Signs were posted in all places of business to announce the Freeze and the availability of ceiling price lists. Trade associations were used as conduits to channel specific information to smaller businesses.

At times public information was used as the sole instrument for obtaining compliance with Stabilization Program policies. Financial institutions were asked to restrain interest rates. Corporations were requested to hold down dividends, and those which failed to do so were forced into compliance by the sheer weight of notoriety.

The central concept of the Phase I Public Communications effort was to keep the message as simple as possible, and then answer questions or articulate details where problems of interpretation arose. This strategy required a responsive information system at both the national and local levels. The primary method for dealing with the volume of information requests was the telephone answering services in the field network and the National Operations Center. The response approach was carried over into the Question and Answer format of the Economic Stabilization Program news releases; thus the primary method for articulating policy was the narrowly detailed response to specific questions supplied by the public.

Phase II

The history of public information during Phase II can be described as the movement from a reactive mode, described by one staffer as “adhoc-racy," to a relatively systematized, controlled response. This "institutionalization" was a function of both agency and policy maturation.

In the beginning of Phase II, as the policy and the agency were coming into being, an informal means of dealing with the information needs of business and the press was satisfactory since policy was still general. Informing the press commanded most of the Public Affairs Offices' (PAO) time, but the regulations were so simple that regulatees could be adequately informed through ad hoc methods. But as the rules and regulations complicated, staffers, fearing legal repercussions became increasingly unwilling or unable to offer definitive responses to business queries. The increasing intricacy of the policy increased the need for precision in information dissemination. Eventually, the policy bogged down in its own complexity and information dissemination consequently came to a near standstill, with regulatees complaining of "stall tactics."

As the policy matured, the information needs of the different audiences changed. Initially, business, the public (i.e., the press) and the Congress were given much the same information. Most of the information about the Program was disseminated to the various audiences by the press. Gradually, as the audiences' needs changed, specialized channels were devised to deal with their particular requirements. For example, at the Pay Board, initially the Public Affairs Office was the central conduit of PB information; over a three-month period two offices were spun off to deal with Congress (a Congressional Affairs Office) and regulatees (an Information Center).

The initial response to the information demands of the Program's audiences was affected by the conditions under which the

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