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February 25, 2009 Special MeetingCITY OF MIAMI GARDENS SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MINUTES February 25, 2009 (A) CALL TO ORDER/ROLL CALL The City Council for the City of Miami Gardens, Florida, met in Special Session on Wednesday, February 25, 2009, beginning at 5:40 p.m., in the City Council Chambers, 1515 NW 167th Street, Building 5, Suite 200, Miami Gardens, Florida. The following members of the City Council were present: Vice Mayor Barbara Watson and Council members Aaron Campbell Jr., Melvin L. Bratton, Andre Williams and Oliver G. Gilbert III. Councilwoman Sharon Pritchett arrived at 6:05 p.m. Mayor Shirley Gibson was out of town. Also in attendance were: Deputy City Manager Renee Farmer, sitting in for City Manager Danny Crew, who was out of town, City Attorney Sonja K. Dickens and City Clerk Ronetta Taylor. (B) INVOCATION Invocation delivered by Councilman Williams (C) PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE Recited in unison (D) PRESENTATION BY FEDERAL LOBBYIST(S) 1. Alcalde & Fay 5:30 p.m. Kevin Fay, President of Alcalde & Fay, appeared before the City Council. He also introduced Danielle Macbeth who is a partner and proposed team leader for the City of Miami Gardens. He stated that Alcalde & Fay is one of the oldest and first lobbyists/government affairs firm founded in Washington D.C. to work on issues of representation before the federal government. Additionally they are one of the largest independent government affairs firms in the Washington area with more than 40 partners and professional staff including former members of congress, former Capitol Hill staff, former branch of executive officials, media professionals, attorneys, and industry leaders. Alcalde & Fay is a bi-partisan firm whose job is to work within the power process regardless of who is in power by maintaining good working relationships with both parties. Mr. Fay continued by presenting a PowerPoint presentation which highlighted Alcalde & Fay's practice groups, strengths and accomplishments, congressional relationships, roots from Florida, and capability in terms in actively promoting public and municipal entities before Special City Council Minutes February 25, 2009 Page 1 congress. Danielle Macbeth, partner of Alcalde and Fay, appeared before the City Council to further expound on her company. Ms Macbeth gave kudos to the Council for all of the accomplishments the city was able to achieve within the five years of being incorporated. She continued to inform the City Council how they plan to map out the city's legislative agenda should be to maximize opportunities. The plan includes a simultaneous process which looks at congressional funding, federal grant funding, and non-profit funding opportunities. Additionally they look into public policy issues that affect local governments by working closely with working with congress, the executive branch, and national associations. Ms Macbeth continued to enlighten the City Council on the appropriation allocation process. She then highlighted the working relationships they continue to have with the Florida Delegation, familiarity with the South Florida Areas, return on investment, proposed client team, and success of current clients. Mr. Fay closed by summarizing Alcalde & Fay success and pledge to the Council on how they will make the city successful. Councilman Bratton asked how does Alcalde and Fay determine which client they will inform first on funds that are available out of 125 clients. Ms Macbeth responded that the 125 clients are all not local governments and not all of our clients are eligible. They base their push on eligibility and their client's priority. Mr. Fay added that they do everything that they can to inform their clients to best position their projects. Councilman Williams asked about their representation in Miami Dade County. Ms Macbeth confirmed their representation in Miami Dade and Broward County. Councilman Williams asked how do they make their assessments on the order of their clients. Ms Macbeth responded that in terms of federal opportunities that are available they notify their clients of these opportunities that are available. However projects stand on their own merit and it may qualify for different programs. Mr. Fay added that in 25 years they have never been put in a situation of having to choose projects between municipalities. We put every project in terms of qualification for a funding category then we work as hard as we can to push that project. Congressional members make the ultimate decision on what projects they will push. Lastly Alcalde & Fay's job is to put your projects out there and advance them a~ best they can. Councilman Williams asked if there services extend to the State level as well. Special City Council Minutes February 25, 2009 Page 2 Mr. Fay responded that the Council is not hiring them for Tallahassee lobbying. However if we know that the decision point is going to go thru some other level of government we would help you strategize on the best route to try to influence that. Ms. Macbeth informed Councilman Williams that they do know of Yolanda Cash Johnson, City's State Lobbyist, and they will work cooperative with her on your State and Federal legislative program. Councilwoman Pritchett asked in terms of advocacy how would they reach out to include their constituents because we know often times Senator and Legislators would like to hear from their constituents? Ms Macbeth replied that they have done grassroots campaign more so for corporations than we have for local governments. Nonetheless that same kind of strategy can be put in place for local governments as well. Mr. Fay appended that if the Council does have a project request and a member does need to hear from their constituents. We will strategize around that by arranging sessions in the district to do a preview or hear community input if we believe that will put a project over the top. Because at the end of the day we look at the way we can put your request in the best form possible. Ms. Macbeth added that in most requests the members are asking for local support. Councilwoman Pritchett asked if there was any discussion on any out of the box questions that can get our projects across. Mr. Fay stated that in each session there will be hot agenda items; what we will typically do is study previous funding awards that would have been made to see how do we fit your project into a category that has already been successful. If we can find one, we will do our hardest to define your project so that it can fit into a category that has always been successful. We usually sit with the Council at the beginning to identify your priorities and what you expect to accomplish. Ms Macbeth added that sometimes the priorities are local in nature that it won't fly in Washington, and that is why we have that strategy session generally, in the fall. Mr. Fay continued to state that if you have a project that we do not think it is going to fly then it would be silly for the City to waste political capital and energy and effort to get something that is not going to succeed; we are going tell you that because it doesn't help us either to beat our heads on the wall if it is going to fail. 2. The Ferguson Group 5:50 p.m. Valerie Gelnovatch, Partner of the Ferguson Group, appeared before the City Council. Special City Council Minutes February 25, 2009 Page 3 Ms Gelnovatch enlighten the Council briefly that the Ferguson Group is the largest firm in representing local governments in Washington D.C. and that representing local governments is not a sunset of what they do but the core of what they do. Because of that they understand the City position as it relates to budget constraints which are caused by both State and Local factors. Additionally the Ferguson Group has obtained over a billion dollars in appropriation and authorizations for their clients. And of that funding 90% of their clients have received funding for one of their top three priorities. Ms Gelnovatch continued to go over a comprehensive guide she handed out to the council titled "Accessing Stimulus Dollars A Guide for Local Govenments". She went on to state that based on the City's comprehensive plan she was able to asses that the City is focused on at least the following areas: transportation, public works, sidewalks, park improvements, economic developments, and the City has built a very impressive and large police force. If she was to hit the ground running on the City's advocacy program on stimulus it would be for those areas mentioned before because these funds would be the fastest route for the City in 2009. Ms Gelnovatch informed the Council that this is not a regular appropriation type cycle where you might wait a year or two. These funds are coming in 2009 and the City needs to be focus and ready to hit the ground running on those funds. She highlighted and went over the following programs within the guide booklet provided to the Council Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grants, State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance, COPS Universal Hiring Program, Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund, Highway Infrastructure Investments, Community Development Block Grant Funding, and Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Ms Gelnovatch affirmed that the Ferguson Group has been in business for 27 years and specialize in representing local governments. And it is your lobbyist job to work with you on what is important for you and important for Washington. They are familiar with the stimulus appropriation process. Without fail the Ferguson group continues to make sure that each of their clients does get a return on their investment. Broward County was official the Ferguson Group first client. While we do have 150 clients around the United States we only have six in Florida which are spread across the State. The closest to the City of Miami Gardens is the City of Tamarac. Ms Gelnovatch made it known that the City should definitely look into the Transportation re-authorization Bill because the City definitely has projects that may be right for that bill. Also there are more items that come to the City than funding. Often time our clients run into issues that need to be resolved thru legislation and the Ferguson Group really figure out how to resolve a particular issues the City may be going thru. Councilman Bratton was pleased that Ms Gelnovatch answered his previous question during her presentation. Councilman Williams stated that the stimulus funds will be moving quickly and the City would have to be Johnny on the Spot and move quickly to access these funds. Ms Gelnovatch confirmed that they would have to hit the ground running on what the Special City Council Minutes February 25, 2009 Page 4 programs are and how to get funding for the City. Whether it is applying directly to the Federal Government and flying you directly to meet with the agency. Or letting you know that it will come to you in a formula fund or entitlement grant. Councilman Williams asked what is the hierarchy of the Ferguson Group? Ms Gelnovatch identified the planned structure of the team the Ferguson Group will put together as it relates to their relationship to the City and how it can change depending on the issue. Councilman Williams asked how do we make sure that the City's issue will be addressed in a timely fashion because of the great number of clients the Ferguson Group has? Ms Gelnovatch gave an example on how they took care of the number one priority of their clients and how some projects may fall into major regional priorities. Councilwoman Pritchett stated that in the past the Council have made trip to Washington D.C. with hopes to speak to those who make decisions concerning some of our projects. She then asked both firms how they would help to facilitate the Council's ability to do that in terms office space and appointments with key members of legislation because she felt the Council would like to have better success with that. Ms Gelnovatch responded that they would take care of all of that for the Council. The first thing that would be done would provide a draft schedule of appointments to the Council for approval. That schedule will typically include your specific congressional delegation, include agency visits, visit with the Governor's office, and a briefing prior to your appointments at the Ferguson Group to go over consist talking points. We also insure that you meet with the top person in that office. Councilman Gilbert asked if she could identify any funding that could be used to build the City's City Hall. Ms Gelnovatch responded that she believes that the City could use CDBG funding or some other programs that would come out of HUD. Or we would look at Economic Initiative Funds. However it is difficult to get funding for City Halls. Ms Macbeth responded to Councilwoman Pritchett's previous question, in regards to the Council Washington visit, that it is similar to the Ferguson Group. She added that they do have additional staffing of 50, guest offices that would certainly be available to the Council, administrative support, and prepared a suggested draft agenda ofineetings/visits. In terms of Councilman Gilberts question Ms Macbeth added that $4.8 Million will be coming to Florida as it relates to CDBG funding however construction funding is a difficult and that is why it was token out of the stimulus package for schools because they do not see it as a federal obligation. It would be better to look into development initiative to look for funding to construct the City's City Hall. Special City Council Minutes February 25, 2009 Page 5 (E) RESOLUTION E-1) A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA, AUTHORIZING THE CITY MANAGER TO NEGOTIATE AND EXECUTE A CONTRACT WITH FOR FEDERAL LOBBYIST SERVICES; PROVIDING FOR THE ADOPTION OF REPRESENTATIONS; PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE. (SPONSORED BY THE CITY MANAGER) Motion offered by Councilman Bratton and second by Councilman Campbell to adopt this item. Councilman Gilbert stated that he thought that both firms presented themselves well and proved that they can provide the services that the Council is searching for. He continued to ask what is the specific length of time of this contract. Lastly he voiced his support towards Alcalde & Fay. Councilman Campbell shared that he was also impressed by both firms and wish the Council could hire both of them but he does understand that it is not a practical thing to do. He was certainly impressed with how both firms coordinating the visits of the Council in Washington D.C. because it is critical that we meet with the right person. Councilwoman Pritchett concurred with her fellow Council members. More in particular as it relates to the Council as it relates Washington D.C. Lastly she voiced her support to Alcalde & Fay. Councilman Bratton agreed with his fellow Council Members. He continued to ask what is the cost of hiring both firms. Deputy Manager Renee Farmer informed Council that they can hire both firms however the concern is budgetary. The contract is for a two year period according to the RFP and we are looking at upwards at $150,000 which is a significant budget impact for a two year commitment. Vice Mayor Watson asked for clarity on the cost. Ms Farmer responded that it would be $150,000 each year for a total of $300,000 for both firms. Councilman Williams motion to amend the item to include Alcadi & Fay as the lobbyist, Special City Council Minutes February 25, 2009 Page 6 which was second by Councilman Gilbert. This motion passed and carried by a 6-0 voice vote. RESOLUTION N0.2009-36-981 A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA, AUTHORIZING THE CITY MANAGER TO NEGOTIATE AND EXECUTE A CONTRACT WITH ALCALDE AND FAY FOR FEDERAL LOBBYIST SERVICES; PROVIDING FOR THE ADOPTION OF REPRESENTATIONS; PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE. (SPONSORED BY THE CITY MANAGER) There being no further discussion motion to approve the item passed and carried by a 6-0 voice vote. (F) ADJOURNMENT There being no further discussion to co before th' Body, and upon a motion being duly made by Councilman Bratton, the me~irjou ` 6:45 p.rr~ ~ Attest ~/ ,Shim Gibs~n,'1Glayor .,.-__ d~,.vCC~C-- Ronetta Taylor, ,City Clerk Special City Council Minutes February 25, 2009 Page 7