How do Miami-Dade commissioners propose to get better at lobbying the federal and state governments?
By asking for less.
The commission agreed Tuesday to limit priorities for its Washington D.C. and Tallahassee lobbyists to 10 per legislative session. More than that, commissioners said, and Miami-Dade's wish list gets lost in the shuffle.
"They're telling us they can be more effective if we can do that," said Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa, citing conversations with lawmakers.
But the decision is also an effort to give the commission more power. By limiting the county's priorities, county departments controlled by Mayor Carlos Gimenez will no longer have their wants and needs widely distributed to legislators.
Commissioners said rogue department heads in the past have lobbied for legislation in direct conflict with the board's direction.
"They'd take a position for the county and then a department would come up and contradict it," said Commissioner Sally Heyman, a former state representative.
Still, a lingering problem remains: On occasion, commissioners are also at odds over legislation. "Sometimes, some of us have agendas that might not line up," Commissioner Dennis Moss said.
Sosa said county lobbyists should only fight for positions the majority of the commission approves.
"The reality is that this county is not getting back a fair share of what we give the state," she said.