Concern Over Base Lobbyist

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The Mississippi Military Communities Council has expressed concerns about the governor's decision to change base closure consultants. The Washington-based firm, Jefferson Government Relations, will be paid about $1 million over the next four years.

The governor hired the company to replace Barry Rhoads, the consultant who helped fend off base realignments and closures in Mississippi during the 1990s.

Members of the council say the loss of Rhodes' experience could damage efforts to protect military bases in the state.

The bases employ about 36,000 people and bring more than $1.2 billion into local economies.

Lobbyists with the Jefferson firm made a presentation to about 30 community officials meeting at the Mississippi Development Authority. The firm will help prepare for another base realignments and closures
in 2005.