Lobbyist Hired To Represent Worcester County In Annapolis

SNOW HILL– County officials agreed this week to hire a lobbyist to advocate for Worcester County.

The Worcester County Commissioners on Tuesday agreed to accept a bid from State and Local Advisors (SLA) for lobbying services. The company was one of six that responded to the county’s request for proposals. Bids ranged from SLA’s proposed $24,000 a year to $144,000 a year. The contract will be for one year but will include two one-year renewals.

Commissioner Joe Mitrecic said the decision to move forward with SLA, whose principal is Paul Ellington, would give the county a better understanding of issues in Annapolis.

“We have literally no idea what goes on in Annapolis during session,” Mitrecic said in an interview following Tuesday’s vote.

While the local delegation does provide updates, Mitrecic said they didn’t include day-to-day information on what was going on. He said neither the commissioners nor county staff had the time to read through every piece of legislation that may or may not effect Worcester County. Going forward, SLA will provide the county with information on bills that could have an impact locally. Mitrecic said the lobbyist would also be able to voice the county’s support or concerns with a particular bill.

“For $24,000 a year if we can stay on top of this it’s a reasonable ask,” Mitrecic said.

Chief Administrative Officer Weston Young said SLA would be helpful in that it would provide both advocacy and lobbying services to Worcester County.

“SLA will help the county draft a legislative agenda, pursue grants and discretionary funding at the state and federal levels, and advocate on the county’s behalf,” he said.

Another issue the lobbyist could tackle is the longstanding wealth formula that negatively impacts the level of funding Worcester County receives from the state. For years, the commissioners have been critical of the formula, as it translates into very little funding from the state for the county’s education system.

“We hope to challenge the state’s wealth formula, which implies Worcester County is the wealthiest county in the state, and means we pay more per public school student than any other county in the state,” Young said. “It also impacts how much money we get for our roads. SLA should easily be able to provide an impressive return on our investment and help educate Annapolis of the unique attributes and challenges Worcester County faces.”

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.