The exodus from Curt Pringle and Associates, a powerful public-relations and government-affairs firm headed by the former mayor of Anaheim, continues. Melinda Andrade, its most recent departure is perhaps the most telling. The experienced public relations director’s decision came shortly after the Weekly published an article in late May charting the lobbying firm’s shocking shakeup, including two longtime vice presidents, Peter Whittingham and Todd Priest, stepping down at the end of 2017.
But that’s only half the story. Andrade, who worked at Pringle and Associates for a decade, quickly found a new employer in Todd Priest and Associates, a public and government relations firm founded by Pringle’s former vice president a month after he left (Whittingham, who served as vice president since 2001, also founded Whittingham Public Affairs Advisors around the same time).
The revealing announcement came Sunday morning by way of press release.
“We are excited to have Melinda Andrade join our team in Orange County,” Priest, a former Pringle loyalist, is quoted as saying. “She has proven to be an effective communicator and has long been recognized throughout Southern California as a leader in helping organizations achieve their goals. With her extensive knowledge and experience, Melinda will assist TP&A in providing pro-active and comprehensive communications strategies that benefit our clients.” The firm also noted Andrade’s past experiences with local clients like the Children and Families Commission of Orange County and the Anaheim Transportation Network in announcing the growth of its team.
In the past two years, Pringle’s political influence on Anaheim city hall has significantly waned following elections in November 2016 that delivered a council majority for the first time to his mayoral successor-turned-rival Tom Tait. An upheaval at his lobbying firm followed. With Andrade, six employees have now left Pringle and Associates since April 2017. Andrade still appears on her former employer’s website where she’s touted for having been “responsible for strategic public relations programs and partnerships designed to build upon the firm’s growing client base.”
Now those talents are at the service of Priest and Associates.
Why so many jumped ship from Pringle and Associates remains unclear. Neither Pringle, Priest or Whittingham responded to the Weekly‘s previous press inquires about past departures. With Andrade gone, there’s only five team members listed on the roster for Pringle and Associates who aren’t Pringle himself, his wife Alexis or their daughter Katie.