ShareThis Page

Westmoreland County hires its state lobbyist firm to include D.C. work

Rich Cholodofsky
| Friday, July 27, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Westmoreland County commissioners said Thursday that a new contract with a Harrisburg-based lobbying firm is a classic case of addition by subtraction.

Commissioners awarded a $96,000 annual contract to Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, giving the firm a raise from the $60,000 that it earned in each of the last two years.

In giving out the raise, commissioners cut ties with their Washington, D.C.-based lobbyist, which cost $60,000 annually.

As a result, the county will pay about $24,000 less this year for lobbying.

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney will advocate for the county in Harrisburg and Washington.

“We thought we could get a better vision for the county if we worked with one firm,” said Commissioner Tyler Courtney.

According to commissioners, the switch won't diminish lobbying efforts in Washington because Buchanan Ingersoll has representatives based there.

County officials insist that a coordinated approach to lobbying will produce more results.

Commissioners touted lobbying efforts in the last year that helped attract businesses to Westmoreland, including a manufacturing plant for a Lawrenceville battery maker that will move to the former Sony site in East Huntingdon with the benefit of a lucrative state financing package.

Commissioner Charles Anderson said intensified efforts already have started to draw state and federal funds for the expansion of Arnold Palmer Regional Airport and construction of the proposed Laurel Valley Expressway that would link the Sony site to the airport.

Lobbying has become an important element for county officials as state and federal funds have tightened in recent years.

Last year, state and federal grants accounted for more than half the county's budget.

Westmoreland's $315 million budget this year relies on $133.8 million, or about 42 percent of all revenues.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.