Five seek Pasco contract to lobby in Tallahassee
Five companies, including the incumbent, are seeking a Pasco County contract to lobby in Tallahassee.
On Tuesday, county commissioners will be asked to allow the staff to short list the five companies to three and to schedule oral presentations for Oct. 19.
The applicants include the Pittman Law Group of Tallahassee, whose government clients include the cities of Miami, Orlando, Tallahassee, Port Orange, North Miami, Royal Palm Beach, and Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties; Public Affairs Consultants of Tallahassee which represents the municipal governments of the village of Tequesta and Jupiter Inlet Colony; Smith, Bryan & Myers, whose client list includes the Florida Association of Counties, the city of Pembrook Pines and Osceola County; incumbent Shawn Foster whose Sunrise Consulting Group is based in Trinity; and the county’s former lobbyist, The Advocacy Group of Cardenas Partners.
The county hired Foster, then with Southern Strategies, in 2013 for $50,000 annually. Foster previously had been Commissioner Kathryn Starkey’s consultant during her successful 2012 election campaign. Later, Commissioner Ted Schrader questioned Foster’s dual role of representing private clients before commissioners while simultaneously working for the county in Tallahassee.
Foster replaced Slater Bayliss of the Advocacy Group of Cardenas Partners who the county retained originally in 2005 to lobby for transportation dollars. His final contract totaled $65,000 a year, plus $5,000 for expenses.
State Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes, and the speaker-designate for the Florida House of Representatives, previously criticized the county for hiring a lobbyist in light of the influence of the Pasco legislative delegation. “I think it’s ludicrous. Given who we have in the delegation, there is absolutely no need for a lobbyist,’’ he said in 2013.
Separately, the county hired Ralph Lair in 2014, as a contract employee, to lobby on water and utility issues.