Friday, April 11, 2014

Board to talk about hiring lobbyist

Amy Broyles
The Knox County Commission during its work session in a couple of weeks will talk about whether the board needs to hire a lobbyist to keep it informed of the comings and goings in Nashville.

The proposal, spearheaded by Commissioner Amy Broyles, is designed to make officials more aware of laws that can affect local governments. Broyles said the position would probably earn $30,000 to $40,000 annually.

“There’s so much stuff going on in the state that’s affecting local government and there’s a lot to keep up with,” she said. “If we had a lobbyist who was an employee of the commission they could keep us up to date on the issues going on at the state level.”

Broyles said years ago the county had one, but it caused problems when the administration and the commission didn’t agree on an issue. (This person, by the way, would work only for the commission.)

suggested that the proposal probably wouldn’t pass.

“There are some people on the commission who want to be better informed and there are some who are fine with the way things are,” she said, adding that maybe someone would have a better idea.

“That’s fine with me but I want to feel like we’re doing everything we can,” she said.

Commission Chairman Brad Anders said he, too, would like to bring in a lobbyist, but only under certain conditions.

“It would have to be a monitoring contract – not a heavy contract – but something to monitor the bills going forward and how they affect county government,” he said.

Anders, though, added that the proposal would have to be given to Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett to include in his annual budget, and it’s probably too late to do that for this year.

Speaking of Burchett, I asked him about the proposal and, as expected, he was against it.

He said to get a decent lobbyist "you have to get into at least the $40,000 range or you'll end up failing."

"You can pay your third cousin $20,000 but they'll probably spend it in some bar in Nashville and you'll never know what's going on," he added

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