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Mayor & Council (View All)

City Council Study Session Minutes

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Medford City Council Study Session Minutes
July 2, 2015
The Medford City Council Study Session was called to order at 1:11 p.m. in the Medford Room of the Medford City Hall on the above date with the following members and staff present:
Mayor Gary Wheeler; Councilmembers Clay Bearnson, Daniel Bunn, Dick Gordon, Tim Jackle, Kevin Stine, Michael Zarosinski
City Manager Pro Tem Bill Hoke; Acting City Attorney Kevin McConnell; Deputy City Recorder Karen Spoonts; Assistant Parks and Recreation Director Greg McKown; Police Chief Tim George; Planning Principal Planner Kelly Akin
Councilmember Chris Corcoran and Eli Matthews were absent.
Federal Lobbyists
City Manager Pro Tem Bill Hoke remarked that several Councilmembers questioned if we need and or want to pay for a federal lobbyist. Mr. Hoke provided information on who was on the scoring team and stated that it has been narrowed down to three companies. He stated that we donít want to interview them if Council is not interested. In the meantime, Councilmember Corcoran asked Mr. Hoke to call on their references. One of the references stated that they went for three years without a lobbyist and should have kept one. All references called thought that it was worth it to have a federal lobbyist as things have changed in Washington, DC and cities need to be informed. Currently the interviews are scheduled for July 30.
Mayor Wheeler asked Council for their input. Councilmember Bunn was toying with the idea to hire a federal lobbyist when needed for specific issues, such as casinos. He thinks the money needs to be kept in the budget for a federal lobbyist. Councilmember Zarosinski commented on the three finalists; he talked about the need for a lobbyist and would definitely need a lobbyist for projects.
Mr. Hoke noted that we were looking for transportation money in normal places, such as road taxes. There is a chunk of money in Health and Human Services pertaining to healthy lifestyle and those in committees are making the decisions, not so much a senator, etc.
Councilmember Stine questioned what time period the City went without a lobbyist; Mr. Hoke noted it was three years and with a federal lobbyist they found grant money, etc. Councilmember Stine noted that we can talk to each of the lobbyist and find out what success they have had and what they are offering. Mr. Hoke noted there is a benefit and we are not obligated to hire them but for fairness, if you know you are not going to hire them, donít bring them in.
Councilmember Bearnson noted that the federal lobbyist should have their own expertise that works for them as these are large firms.  Councilmember Bunn agreed that we need them to have specialists. Mr. Hoke noted that the past few years we have not had a lobbyist that was large but each of these lobbyists has an office down the street from the Capital. Mr. Hoke stated that every city he talked to had longstanding relationships with them.  All are paying them what they want us to pay and that they all knew the right person.
Mayor Wheeler liked the idea of a federal presence as bureaucracy is complicated in Washington DC. The elected officials donít always know where the money is. When we went to Washington DC for meetings we had to make our own meetings.
Councilmember Gordon liked Councilmember Bunnís comments. He stated he would like someone with private sector experience and we could learn from that. He would rather meet with them by video conferencing vs. phone as flying parties here is very expensive. Mr. Hoke noted that for them to come out is no cost to us; Councilmember Gordon stated that someone pays. Mr. Hoke noted that we can do that if it is the will of the Council. Mayor Wheeler noted he would rather have them here and come see our City. Councilmember Bearnson would like to see them come to Medford.
Councilmember Jackle is not sold that we need to have a retainer federal lobbyist and thought our needs for a lobbyist could be discussed at the Council retreat. He was not opposed to a video conference.
Mayor Wheeler noted that we were fortunate to find our representative pertaining to the casino and questioned how we find someone that we need on a short notice. Discussed was the possibility of a lobbyist not being available, if needed.
Councilmember Bunn noted that we can bridge this by finding someone that has most of our needs.
Mayor noted that it will be educational for us as well.
The Board agreed to stay the course.
The meeting adjourned to the regular City Council meeting at 1:37 p.m.
Karen M. Spoonts, MMC
Deputy City Recorder

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