Board of Directors Regular Meeting Agenda


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Meeting Date: 12/10/2015  

SUBJECT MATTER:
Receive, consider and act upon selection of a government relations consultant and authorize an agreement in connection therewith;
FISCAL IMPACT:
$42,500 budgeted in 2016
BACKGROUND:
Since 2004, the Township (and predecessor HOAs) has contracted for a full range of government relations services, including advice and counsel regarding local, state and federal government relations; maintaining good working relationships with appropriate elected and appointed officials; and regular representation in appropriate government venues such as the Texas Legislature. The Township’s Intergovernmental Relations Manager interfaces with the government relations consultant on general legislative and regulatory issues of interest to the Township, and assists the Township in determining actions and goals for specific bills or issues, as appropriate.
 
Since 2010, when considering the contract for government relations services, a Request for Interest (RFI) has been issued as a means to identify individuals/firms interested in providing the specified services to the Township. The Township Request for Information seeks interest from consultants with experience or qualifications in representing political subdivisions on the local, state and federal level for a full range of government relations services, including but not limited to the following scope:
  • Providing advice and counsel on state and regional legislative matters
  • Maintaining positive working relationships with appropriate elected officials
  • Maintaining positive working relationships with appropriate appointed officials
  • Representing the Township in appropriate government venues, with particular emphasis on the Texas Legislature
  • Frequently attend Township Board of Directors meetings to maintain a close working relationship with the Board and staff
  • Be proactive in identifying and communicating state legislative issues that may be of concern to The Township
  • Work with Township Board and legal counsel to prepare the Township’s legislative agenda
  • Work cooperatively with the Township’s Legal Counsel during the legislative sessions
 
The Woodlands Township is not required to bid professional services, but does opt to bid many professional services to determine interest and obtain the highest level of expertise. 
 
In 2011, a Request for Interest (RFI) was released and garnered interest from two firms. Subsequently an agreement was reached with Mr. Bob Stout for his services for a two year period. The change from an annual contract (prior to 2010) to a two year contract recognized that preparation for the 2013 Legislative Session actually began mid-year 2012 and the Township would want the same individual to represent the Township through the entire two year legislative process.
 
In 2013, the Township received seven responses to the Request for Interest for government relations services. A two year agreement was reached with Mr. Rob Eissler for services to be provided in 2014 and 2015. As background, from January 2002 to January 2013, Mr. Eissler represented The Woodlands as a Representative in the Texas Legislature. Mr. Eissler was intimately involved in drafting and passing bills in the Texas Legislature in the 2005, 2007, 2009 sessions, and most recently directed passage of House Bill 4149 in 2015. The bills passed during the above legislative sessions built on prior legislation and expanded the authority of The Woodlands Township as it exists today.
 
In 2015, the Township received three responses to the recent Request for Interest. The responses (listed in the order they were received) are from Rob Eissler/The Schlueter Group; Steve Bruno/Bruno Public Affairs; and Tyler J. Rudd/Rudd Attorneys PLLC. All three individuals appear to be qualified to perform the requested consulting service as set out in the RFI.
 
Attached is a Government Relations summary of the three firms responding to the RFI including proposed monthly prices for representation by the firm. 
 
Given that preparation for the 2017 Legislative Session begins in 2016, if governance relations services are desired by the Township Board of Directors, staff recommends a two year contract with the selected firm.
RECOMMENDATION:
If the Board determines to hire a government relations consultant to represent The Woodlands Township, staff recommends that the President/General Manager be authorized to execute an agreement for the two year period of January 2016 through December 2017.
Attachments
Request for Interest (RFI) - Government Relations
Summary of Firms


    

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