Memphis council hiring lobbyists, maybe at over $100K budget

The Memphis City Council plans to hire The Ingram Group, a high-powered Nashville-based strategy firm, to serve as its envoy to state and national lawmakers, reports the Commercial Appeal.

A council subcommittee made up of chairman Berlin Boyd, Kemp Conrad and Worth Morgan chose The Ingram Group after separately interviewing several candidates in closed-door sessions. The contract should be signed within 30 days, said Conrad, who chairs the government relations committee that will oversee the group’s work.

The price of the contract is still being negotiated but could exceed the $100,000 budget approved by the council in 2016.

The hire gives the council its own representation — separate from the lobbyists hired by Mayor Jim Strickland’s administration — as it navigates the choppy political waters in the state’s capital. In the past year, council members journeyed several times to Nashville for hot-button issues, including a bill, now dead, mandating de-annexation.

The Ingram Group will help the council defend against legislation that preempts local control, like in the case of the city’s efforts to remove Confederate monuments; will work to give the city a fair share of state funding; and will target specific issues to supplement the administration’s lobbying, Conrad said.

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Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.
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