Looking for an alternate track inside the Beltway, the city might be getting another representative to Washington.
Milton Bissegger is his name, head of RSL Associates, a fledgling Silver Spring, Md., company that hopes to specialize in lobbying the federal bureaucracy on behalf of Utah municipalities.Mayor Randy Fitts says he has mixed feelings about it but notes that some local cities - like Sandy - already have hired guns working the capital's corridors, augmenting efforts by the state's congressional delegation to bring home the bacon.
Bissegger, a former assistant to Rep. Bill Orton, D-Utah, is trying to land a contract with a number of Utah towns and cities that would name him their Washington "consultant," the term he prefers over lobbyist.
Bissegger has directly approached 30 of the state's approximately 230 city governments and has also made pitches at recent meetings of the Council of Governments in Utah and Salt Lake counties, consortiums regularly attended by mayors. He expects responses to start trickling in this week.
The lobbyist's services would cost each client city from $4,000 to $18,000 annually, depending on the population.
He said that because the state's three U.S. representatives and two senators can't keep up with constituent needs, his effort is not a duplication of services.
"When I was with Orton's office, sometimes we'd get 100 requests a day from people," said Bissegger. "The best I could do was usually make some calls and find out who they should contact."