Gila County will continue to use the services of Patricia Power and the lobbyist firm of Bose Public Affairs Group in Washington, D.C. until June 2013.
The current contract with Power was to have ended June 30. It was made May 12, 2009 and paid the firm $6,500 per month.
The fee being paid to the firm is one of the points with which District 3 Supervisor Shirley Dawson had concerns.
“With finances such as they are, I don’t think we should continue the contract. We should be addressing things ourselves.
“I question (the need for a lobbyist) because the congressional delegation’s reluctance to be approached by lobbyists. The staff of the delegation has knowledge of where we need to go and what we need to do to get there,” Dawson said.
“We should continue the contract,” District 1 Supervisor Tommie Martin said.
She said the firm has been instrumental in the successful work being done on the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI) — a collaborative effort to restore forest ecosystems on portions of four national forests, Coconino, Kaibab, Apache-Sitgreaves and Tonto, along the Mogollon Rim in northern Arizona.
“The delegation and staff changes so much, we don’t have someone to work with for six months (until they get up to speed). We need someone to have our back (in Washington, D.C.) day in and day out,” Martin said.
She added the lobbyist firm has also been helpful with transportation funding.
Mike Pastor, chairman of the BOS, said Power has helped set up meetings for him in Washington, D.C.
“A concern I have is getting more than articles from the Washington Post. I want more detailed reports on the impact (of congressional and agency actions) to Gila County and Arizona,” he said.
“Forest issues are important and she works on that. At this point, I support a two-year contract with more reports and information,” Pastor said.
“$78,000 per year is a lot of money, plus there are travel costs (when Power visits the county). We should consider an Arizona lobbyist,” Dawson said.
While not presented during the course of the June 7 meeting, an outline of Power’s work for the county was part of the documentation provided.
• The county first obtained federal representation in June 2006, Power wrote in an April 2009 report. “In appropriated funds, grants, reprogrammed funds and cost share savings, we have helped deliver $10,621,600 to the county since we began working in June of 2006.”
• Since the April 2009 report, the firm has helped the county with federal appropriations; Surface Transportation Reauthorization (money for road projects); forest issues; Tonto Basin and related flooding issues; Recovery and Reinvestment Act opportunities; various federal issues of interest to the county; visits by the supervisors to Washington, D.C.; visits by Power to Gila County; monitoring and attending congressional hearings and other D.C. meetings.
Pastor and Martin approved renewal of the contract with Bose Public Affairs Group at $6,500 a month through June 30, 2013. Dawson opposed the renewal of the contract.