City Hires Lobbyist

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Lobbyist Beth Clay of Meridian has been hired by the city of Meridian to represent its interests in Jackson. She is considered to be among the most influential lobbyists working the Capitol.

The contract between the city and Clay calls on her to monitor legislative activities and be in a position to coordinate the development of desired legislation and attend meetings that will have an impact on the city of Meridian.

Clay has a list of well known clients that reportedly earn her a six figure annual income. The city of Meridian will pay her $30,000 per year plus up to $2,000 for expenses.

Among Clay's duties will be to assist in drafting proposed legislation, review all bills to determine which bills affect the city, and to coordinate the development of legislative issues by personal contact with members of the legislature and their staffs. She is to establish and maintain a daily presence at the Capitol.

The contract is effective for one year and begins Jan. 1, 2005.

In other news from the city council meeting, Rebecca Gentry, retiree recruitment coordinator, reported on the success of that program. It was established in 1995 to attract retirees to our area and, she says, it has been working.

"We have relocated approximately 100 retiree families to Meridian and Lauderdale County. So that program is working and successful. We had retirees that came from such states as Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kansas, Illinois. We had a couple move here a year ago from Santa Fe, New Mexico, as well as we had a couple relocate here last year from Arizona," said Gentry.

The council meeting was one of the shortest in recent years. It lasted only 15 minutes.