Pelham not seeing fruits of lobbying

Published 11:42 am Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pelham Mayor Don Murphy plans to veto a measure passed by Pelham’s City Council that would increase the cost of a lobbying contract from $30,000 to $90,000 in the current budget year.

The council voted 3-2 earlier this week to extend the agreement for the purpose of securing additional state and federal monies. Murphy sees little, if any, ‘fruits’ created by the agreement during the past year, so he finds it difficult to support the measure going forward.

Members of the Pelham City Council are split on the issue of expanding the lobbyist contract.

Those on both sides of this issue are bright folks with the interest of the citizens of Pelham first and foremost in their minds and yet, they disagree.

Such disagreements, particularly as they relate to how limited resources will be spent, are not unfamiliar in government nor are they unusual in private business, in churches and across kitchen tables in our community.

But my simplistic mind has never quite understood why one elected body would need to spend a penny to ‘lobby’ another elected body.

It seems, again in my simple-minded perspective, locally elected officials like mayors and council members would be the ones to lobby state and federal officials.

There isn’t a doubt in my mind that any one of our locally elected senators or representatives in Montgomery or Washington D. C. would take a phone call from or share a cup of coffee with any elected official in Shelby County or from one of their constituents.

Certainly, if I were an elected official in Montgomery or Washington D.C., that phone call from Mayor Murphy or a cup of coffee with one of the city council members would carry a great more influence than anything a lobbyist might do on the city’s behalf.