County Renews Contract With Potomac Partners For Federal Lobbying

(November 6) The county of San Bernardino has renewed its contract with Washington, D.C.-based Potomac Partners for lobbying in the nation’s capitol.
San Bernardino County first contracted with Potomac Partners in 2009 for federal legislative advocacy services. At that time, the contract called for the payment of $12,000 per month, or $144,000 per year. In January 2012, when the contract for lobbying with the company was extended, the contract cost was reduced to $11,000 per month, or $132,000 per year. The $11,000 per month terms were again extended in January 2013 and again in July 2013.
The contract approved by the board of supervisors this week calls for a 24-month contract extension worth $288,000, which reestablishes the firm’s remuneration at $12,000 per month. The contract calls for providing  federal legislative advocacy services on behalf of the county for a two-year period ending October 31, 2015, with two one-year options to extend.
According to Josh Candelaria, the county’s director of governmental and legislative affairs, “The county of San Bernardino utilizes advocacy services both at the federal and state level to advance the county’s legislative agenda. On July 22, 2013, a request for proposal (RFP) was released for federal legislative advocacy services. The RFP was open for approximately five weeks, advertised through the county’s website and distributed to approximately 45 federal legislative advocacy and public relations firms. A pre-solicitation letter was also circulated a month prior to the RFP opening to ensure the RFP was available to as many firms as practical. The competitive RFP process garnered 11 responses from various advocacy firms, including Carmen Group, Inc., Carpi & Clay, Inc., David Turch and Associates, Holland & Knight, LLP, Innovative Federal Strategies, LLC, McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies LLC, Patton Boggs, LLP, Polsinelli PC, Potomac Partners DC, LLC, Van Scoyoc Associates, Inc. and Venable, LLP. An interagency technical evaluation committee consisting of senior executives from the governmental and legislative affairs office, public works, county administrative office, health and human services, community services, San Bernardino Association of Governments and South Coast Air Quality Management District evaluated the proposals based on the criteria listed in the RFP. The technical evaluation committee recommended that Carpi Clay, Inc., Holland and Knight, LLP, Potomac Partners DC, LLC, and Van Scoyoc Associates, Inc. advance in the process and be interviewed by an interagency interview committee. The interagency interview committee, consisting of senior executives from the governmental and legislative affairs office, economic development agency, Southern California Association of Governments and Riverside County, interviewed the finalists. Potomac Partners DC received the highest evaluation score, has satisfactory references, and significant experience. The legislative advocates will coordinate all legislative activities through the governmental and legislative affairs office and will work with the board of supervisors, department heads and departmental staff to create a proactive legislative advocacy agenda.”
There was no information available relating to what the bids by Carpi Clay, Holland & Knight, David Turch and Associates, Carmen Group, Federal Strategies, McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies,  Patton Boggs, Polsinelli, Venable and Van Scoyoc Associates were.
The contract was reviewed by chief assistant county counsel Michelle Blakemore; Steve Atkeson, a financial analyst in the county administrative office; and Leo Gomez, a supervising buyer in the county’s purchasing department.

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