Because Washington is changing, county's lobbying contracts aren't
By Ashley Hopkins
The Miami-Dade commission is holding off on new Washington lobbying contracts until it has a better idea of how changing political climates will affect the county, moving Tuesday to extend current agreements for up to three months.
Joe Martinez made a request to extend the contracts through February at a Dec. 7 commission meeting out of concern about the major power shifts in the federal government since firms applied for lobbying contracts. As Republicans won the House majority and committees hadn't yet been named, he sought to postpone hiring.
As the contracts were to expire Feb. 5, Sally Heyman moved to extend them month-to-month for up to three months.
During last year's solicitation process, the county commission moved to award governmental consulting contracts to Alcalde & Fay, based in Arlington, VA; Patton Boggs LLP, based in Washington, DC; and Greenberg Traurig P.A., based in Miami. The firms would provide Miami-Dade with representation and governmental consulting services before the executive and legislative branches of the federal government.
On June 10 the award recommendation went before the Health, Public Safety & Intergovernmental Committee. As rankings were close, the committee requested that the firms ranked fourth (Akerman, Senterfitt & Eidson P.A., based in Orlando) and fifth (Cardenas Partners LLC, based in Tallahassee) also receive contracts.
The original award recommendation allocated $720,000 annually, amounting to $190,000 per contract per year with $150,000 reserved for additional lobbying. According to Victoria Mallette, county communications director, County Manager George Burgess recommended negotiating a contract with Akerman for the additional $150,000.
Joe Rasco, director of intergovernmental affairs, said the firms were selected based on performance in five categories: experience, qualifications and past performance; experience and qualifications of individuals assigned to the contract; approach and work plan; understanding of major metropolitan county issues; and relationship with the House and Senate leadership.
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