The vote was unanimous, with Ben Diamond abstaining. Diamond is running for the state House District 68 seat and wanted to avoid the appearance of impropriety should he win.
Staff members of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority had recommended that board members hire RSA and Suskey for a three-year contract with two one-year extensions. The two would be paid up to $7,500 a month, or about $90,000 annually, including expenses for their services.
But PSTA board member Janet Long, a Pinellas County commissioner, said she was hesitant to offer that long a contract to RSA because its employees had never worked for the board before. She said she was somewhat comforted because Suskey was part of the deal. Suskey is known to board members because he represented the PSTA when the board contracted with GrayRobinson. She suggested a two-year contract with options for renewal instead. Other members agreed.
The PSTA lobbying contract came up earlier this year when the contract with GrayRobinson expired. GrayRobinson, an Orlando-based law firm and lobbying group, had represented the PSTA since 2011.
Suskey has been a solo practitioner since 2014 when he launched Suskey Consulting, a boutique government affairs and business development consulting firm. He previously served as a lobbyist for Capitol Insight and has built an independent advocacy career representing world-renowned research institutes, technology companies, small businesses, and large corporations in both Tallahassee and Washington, D.C.
As a former Saint Petersburg resident, Suskey has also represented complex and extensive client matters in front of municipalities and with elected officials throughout the Tampa Bay Region.
RSA, founded 2009 by veteran consultant Ron Pierce, has offices in Brandon, Tampa and Tallahassee.
As a full-service firm, RSA offers expertise in the areas of government and legislative affairs, community affairs, strategic planning, as well as media and public relations.