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The Words You Choose Mean Everything

Earlier I was writing a story on Park City’s new head of transportation, Alfred Knotts. According to Tahoe Transportation District’s website, he is currently Transportation Projects Manager for The Tahoe Transportation District and will be starting his new position in the next few weeks.

What’s interesting is Park City Municipal’s press release regarding hiring Mr Knotts. The press release says, “City Manager Diane Foster announced that Tahoe Transportation District’s Transportation Program Manager, Alfred Knotts, will become the new leader of the City’s Transportation Planning Department.”

Do you spot the difference between how the Tahoe Transportation District lists Mr. Knotts’ job title and how the Park City press release lists Mr Knotts’ Tahoe job title ? Projects Manager versus Program Manager. Granted, it’s a subtle difference but I think most people would conjur different mental images of what a project manager does versus a program manager. I certainly do.

This isn’t a jab at Mr Knotts whatsoever. I previously said he sounded very competent and a selection committee obviously thought he was the right guy. This is more a jab at the press release.

Were Park City officials concerned that the sound of “promoting” a project manager to head Park City’s entire transportation department wouldn’t be received well? Was it an honest mistake and they meant project instead of program? Perhaps Mr Knotts recently received a new title and Tahoe’s website wasn’t updated. I’m not sure.

And does it really matter in the scheme of things? Probably not. Mr Knotts will either be successful here (or not) and it has little to do with his previous title. His success is really what residents care about.

That said, if it was an intentional change of his previous title in the press release, it tells you a lot about Park City government.




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