Marana is paying a Phoenix firm $3,000 a month to represent the community at the Arizona Legislature.
Last week, the town council was introduced to representatives of Triadvocates, a firm that works at the local, state and national levels on policy and advocacy, government marketing and economic development.
The town entered a one-year contract with Triadvocates on Dec. 1. Payment cannot exceed $36,000 a year, according to Josh Wright of the town manager’s office.
“It’s actually a cost-savings to us,” Wright said. That’s because the town has not replaced Steve Huffman, the intergovernmental affairs representative who was on the town’s payroll, monitoring the Legislature and performing other duties. Huffman resigned his position in August.
“It made more sense to target it more with a lobbying firm, full-time at the capital,” Wright said. “We didn’t have to hire a full-time position in-house.”
The Legislature convenes in January.
“It’s that season again,” Wright told the council. “It’s a season some of us dread. These three folks are actually excited about that season.” Julie Rees, Mike Gardner and Ryan Harper represented Triadvocates at Tuesday’s meeting.
“We’ll definitely do our best to represent the town’s interests,” Rees told the board. She wants to make sure legislators “recognize the difficult decisions you have made with the town budget, and the effect of their decisions upon you.” The firm represents two other municipal governments, Sierra Vista and Mesa.
“It’s critical that municipalities, and other folks with a vested interest in the way our state is governed, and direct tie-ins in terms of funding, have a voice that’s permanently there … and can represent Marana’s interests in an immediate sense,” Wright said. “It’s a sensible approach for financial reasons, as well has having a permanent presence during the session that represents Marana’s interests.”
Most reporting between Triadvocates and the council would occur through staff, Wright expects.