Without any comment or discussion, the Lyons School District 103 Board of Education voted 6-0 at a special meeting on Aug. 13 to award a contract worth $75,000 annually to a company owned by an employee of the village of Lyons who also is the brother-in-law of Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty.
District 103 hired City Social Marketing Solutions, which is owned by Kevin Thomas, to handle the district’s communications strategy, develop social media pages for each of the district’s schools, produce the district newsletter, distribute the superintendent’s monthly reports and handle other communications and marketing endeavors for the district.
The contract calls for City Social Marketing Solutions to be paid $7,500 a month with the exception of June and December. City Social will take over and expand on the work that City Media had been doing for $2,000 a month since April of 2020. District 103 Superintendent Kristopher Rivera said that it is his understanding that City Media has merged with City Social.
Like City Media, City Social Marketing Solutions does not have a company website accessible to the public nor does it have any social media presence of its own.
“We’re going to expand our communication process and have a lot more in depth communications and publications to promote the district in a positive way, branding and communicate better with the families,” Rivera told the Landmark after the school board’s meeting last week. “Each school will have a Facebook site, we’ll have more newsletters, going to do some print.”
City Social will spend a maximum of six hours per week within the district generating content. Much of their work will be done offsite. Rivera described the relationship between the district and City Social as almost like an employee. Rivera said that the work of City Social will be more in depth compared to what the district has been doing.
Thomas, who is listed in the contract with the district as the CEO/Owner of City Social Marketing Solutions, is an employee of the village of Lyons. He manages the village’s website, villageoflyons-il.net, which as of Aug. 16 was not functioning.
City Social also has a contract with Lyons Township, where Chris Getty serves in the township’s highest elected post as township supervisor.
Thomas’s sister is married to Chris Getty. Thomas, who attended Friday’s school board meeting, refused to confirm to the Landmark that he is Getty’s brother in law.
“What difference does that make?” Thomas said when asked by a reporter if he was Chris Getty’s brother in law. “Is it relevant?”
The Landmark has been able to confirm the relationship between Getty and Thomas through multiple independent sources.
In the contract with District 103, the address of City Social Marketing Solutions is listed as 7674 W. 63rd Street in Summit. But in some state filings, including its incorporation record on file with the Illinois Secretary of State – which also shows the LLC was involuntarily dissolved in October 2019 — City Social Marketing Solutions lists its address as 7710 Ogden Ave. in Lyons, which is address of the Getty Insurance Agency, the business owned by Kenneth Getty, the father of Chris Getty. Chris Getty is the president of Getty Insurance Agency.
Rivera said that he didn’t know if Thomas was Getty’s brother-in-law.