Last week the Gila County Board of Supervisors awarded a contract to a bipartisan Phoenix lobbying firm, Policy Development Group, whose aim is to see that Gila County has the ear of the state.
During their Tuesday, Jan. 5 meeting, the board chose PDG from eight bidders based on the recommendation of county staff, who called PDG “the best strategic partner.” The firm will work on Gila County’s behalf with the state legislature or state agencies, advocating for the county on such issues as forestry, mining and broadband. “We have a long list,” said County Manager James Menlove in a Friday, Jan. 8 board meeting. Menlove added that he was putting together a formal list of county priorities.
“The main issues we have are the forestry issues, getting the forests cleaned,” Menlove said. “We’re going to have a potentially devastating season with the fires, and mining is also a huge issue.”
The contract with PDG is for $60,000, not counting pre-approved expenses. It will run for a year, but can be renewed for three more one-year terms if the county chooses. “I’m willing to give it a try for a year,” Supervisor Woody Cline, who had voted against retaining a lobbying firm in August 2020, said in the Jan. 5 meeting. “We do have some important issues at the state level. We’ll probably be dealing with some issues in the future that are related to mines, and from a lobbyist standpoint I want to make sure that company is fair and balanced. If we don’t see anything happening in a year’s time, I’ll be the first one to vote against it.”
The firm’s other clients include Resolution Copper, fiber optics communications company Crown Castle and the Arizona Association of Air Ambulance Services. In response to a question from Menlove during the Jan. 8 meeting, Paul Senseman of PDG said no conflicts were anticipated from representing both Resolution Copper and Gila County. “We hope this is the first of many conversations that we have,” said Senseman.