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Lobbyist contracts renewed

As the local newspapers have reported, on December 17 Council voted 6-1 to renew the Ferguson Group lobbying contract (I was opposed) and 7-0 to renew the contract will Bill Nolan Associates.

There was little discussion of the matter at the meeting, but it appeared that other Council members’ votes on the Ferguson contract were influenced by the staff recommendations, by the amount of money that staff said Ferguson had helped bring in, and by the fact that experience with Ferguson was far for the city than the experience with the Baker-Donelson law firm had been earlier.

As I’ve said earlier, I continue to believe that the city could gain federal funds for local needs without the services of a lobbyist. Further, the fact that this firm is serving us better than Baker-Donelson does not mean that we need their service.

However, now that Ferguson Group is on board for another year, I look forward to working with them to further Oak Ridge’s interests.

The Council Intergovernmental Relations Committee will meet January 9th (4pm in the municipal building training room) to review and make recommendations on the city’s federal and state “agenda,” which the full Council will consider on January 28th. There’s time for citizen input. Equity for local contractor retirees (see this earlier blog post) is one of my highest federal priorities for the city, but there are plenty of other potential wish list items on both the federal and state level.


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