Newspaper breaks down Hamilton County public agency lobbying costs

Public agencies in Hamilton County are paying 10 lobbyists a combined $304,700 a year to represent local interests to state officials who were elected to represent local interests, reports the
Times-Free Press.

The city of Chattanooga has four lobbyists in Nashville, city-owned EPB has four, and Erlanger Health System and Hamilton County each have one.

Chattanooga contracts with the law firm of Frost, Brown and Todd, but it also gets a lobbyist through its membership with the Tennessee Municipal League, according to city spokeswoman Lacie Stone.

The contract with Frost, Brown and Todd costs $6,000 a month while the General Assembly is in session, Stone said. For that sum, the city gets the services of Thomas Lee, Debra Maggart and Mirna Tunjic, according to Tennessee Ethics Commission records. Last session, Stone said, the administration did not pay any lobbyists.

There’s no direct salary tied to the city’s other lobbyist, Jane Alvis, Stone said. But the city pays $37,100 to be a TML member.

“For the Tennessee Municipal League, we pay membership dues for several things. Part of that goes to Jane Alvis, [who] represents the Big Four cities,” Stone said.

Here’s the list accompanying the story:
(Organization // lobbyist // salary)

City of Chattanooga // Thomas Lee // $6,000 per month
City of Chattanooga // Debra Maggart // joint contract with Lee
City of Chattanooga // Mirna Tunjic // joint contract with Lee
City of Chattanooga // Jane Alvis* // $37,100
EPB // Catie Laine Bailey // $60,000
EPB // Mark Smith // joint contract with Bailey
EPB // Will Denami // $35,000
EPB // Claude Ramsey // $60,000
Erlanger // Hayes Ledford // $5,800 per month
Hamilton County // Will Denami // $20,000
TOTAL // $304,700
* Alvis represents Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville as part of the Tennessee Municipal League. That contract amount is for league dues.