Hagerstown to pay lobbyist $15,000 over two months

January 22, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN ? The City of Hagerstown will pay a lobbying firm $15,000 over the next two months to represent the city's interests in Washington, D.C.

The Ferguson Group will lobby on the city's behalf to land federal grants to help pay for water and sewer projects, among other things. During a Tuesday special session, the Hagerstown City Council voted 5-0 to hire The Ferguson Group.

As part of a mutual agreement, the city will pay $7,500 a month until March 15, 2008. After that time, the city would pay $8,500 a month for each additional month that city officials decide to retain The Ferguson Group's services.

From Jan. 15, 2009, to Jan. 15, 2010, the fee would increase to $9,000 per month. In all cases, The Ferguson Group requires its fee to be paid in advance at the beginning of each month, according to the agreement.


No guaranteed return on investment

Earlier this year, Kareem D. Murphy, a partner with The Ferguson Group, said his company could not guarantee a return on the city's investment.

Councilman Martin Brubaker said he supported hiring The Ferguson Group for only two months because the council should know by then whether the partnership was successful.

The city's General, Water and Sewer funds each would pay about a third of the cost to hire the lobbyists, according to city documents.

As of Jan. 9, The Ferguson Group had 130 local-government clients in 28 states, said Rod Autrey, a Ferguson Group associate.

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