The briefing agenda for the City of Greensboro for January 26, 2010 has a interesting topic #3 as you can see from above . It looks like council wants to look at hiring a lobbyist to represent them on the federal level.
We have seen this past year in the town of Winston Salem and the county of Forsyth hired a Washington D.C. lobbyist firm in The Ferguson Group CLICKHERE.
Below is from the Forsyth County agenda.
JANUARY 12, 2009 – GOVERNMENT CENTER – 7:30 P.M.
15. Resolution Authorizing Execution of an Agreement Between Forsyth County and the Ferguson Group, LLC for Federal Lobbying Services
Commissioner Bailey moved for adoption of the Resolution Authorizing Execution of an Agreement Between Forsyth County and the Ferguson Group, LLC for Federal Lobbying Services. Commissioner Conrad seconded the motion, which was approved by a vote of five (5) to two (2). Commissioners Whisenhunt and Linville voted in opposition.
Sam Hieb from Piedmont Publius CLICKHERE has a post with a title called "stuck with the tab" back on December of 2007, talking about the lobbyist firm that is used in Forsyth County.
Come to find out it looks like the Ferguson Group represents a lot of towns and counties all over the state of North Carolina. Come to find out High Point N.C. is one of the clients. Who knew? How much wasted taxpayer money does this cost?
Before hiring a federal lobbyist there should be plenty of questions to ask like
Why does any city or county need to hire a federal lobbyist?
Does lobbyist company have many other clients or are you one of the few?
Will the lobbyist company have a experienced lawyer or a young gun handling your case?
Will there be any conflicts of interest with other clients?
Like Cam Cover the state lobbyist for Greensboro in her relationship with time warner and the issue with tiered pricing in Greensboro back last year.
What is the return on investment with hiring this lobbyist company?
These are just a few of the questions that should be asked.
Below is from a NY Times article called "Hiring Federal Lobbyist, Towns Learn Money Talks" CLICKHERE
Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, one of several Washington watchdog groups critical of earmarks, said it was local politicians' mandate to make their needs known — and the job of members of Congress to look out for them.
"If you're a mayor or a city councilman and you have to hire a lobbyist, what a gross admission of failure on your part," Mr. Phillips said. "I would think they have a fiduciary responsibility to not put taxpayer dollars into lobbyists when they're elected to be, really, the lobbyist for the people."
Great point Mr. Phillips and agree 100% with that.It will be interesting to see how this briefing goes next week and if anything comes out of this.