City to pay lobbyist $108K in '09

January 13, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- The City of Hagerstown will spend about $108,000 over the next year to retain the services of The Ferguson Group, a federal lobbying firm that represents the city's interests in Washington, D.C.

The City Council on Tuesday voted 4-1 during a special session to retain The Ferguson Group from Jan. 15, to Jan. 15, 2010, at a cost of $9,000 per month.

Either party may terminate the agreement at any time by giving 30 days notice.

The council hired The Ferguson Group in January 2008 for one year of service at a cost of about $100,000. To date, the city hasn't seen a financial return on its investment.

Kareem D. Murphy, a partner with The Ferguson Group, told the council last week that the city had a decent chance of receiving $4.1 million in federal funding as a result of the city's and The Ferguson Group's combined efforts.


Of that money, $4 million would be used to help pay for a project to extend Professional Court by constructing a bridge over Antietam Creek. The remaining $100,000 would be used to assist minority- and woman-owned businesses.

Murphy said he would have a better idea of how the funding would be disbursed later this month after Congress makes a decision.

Councilman Martin E. Brubaker suggested reviewing the agreement at least quarterly to determine The Ferguson Group's progress.

Councilwoman Kelly S. Cromer cast the dissenting vote, saying in part that city officials worked harder than The Ferguson Group to lobby for federal aid on Hagerstown's behalf.

How they voted:

Martin E. Brubaker, yes

Kelly S. Cromer, no

Lewis C. Metzner, yes

Penny M. Nigh, yes

Alesia D. Parson-McBean, yes

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