I had heard rumblings out of Pasco County that politicos there were not too happy with their lobbying representation in Tallahassee, but I did not know the situation had deteriorated to this … from a Times editorial:
“I think it’s ludicrous,” Richard Corcoran said. “Given who we have in the delegation, there is absolutely no need for a lobbyist. I’d rather they spent that money on a firefighter or a police officer than on a lobbyist.”
Corcoran’s blunt assessment is welcome. Too frequently, Pasco’s legislative delegation has acquiesced to the county’s unnecessary spending on lobbying.
The commission originally retained Slater Bayliss of the Advocacy Group at Tew Cardenas LLC for $40,000 in 2005 to lobby for transportation dollars even though then-Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, chaired the Senate committee overseeing transportation appropriations. The dubious spending never ceased and, instead, expanded five years later to cover nontransportation issues when the county’s other lobbyist retired.
With little or no discussion, commissioners routinely renewed the publicly financed lobbying contract. That changed in March when Commissioner Henry Wilson persuaded the rest of the board to offer Bayliss just a three-month extension through the 2013 legislative session and then to find out if other firms wanted to bid for the county lobbying contract.
Wilson got it half right. The commission should bag its lobbyist entirely and put the money toward programs closer to home such as code enforcement or road maintenance. And in the near future, if commissioners feel the need to lobby the state’s most powerful legislators, they know where to find them. Their offices are in central Pasco.