At least as long as they retain the service of state and federal lobbyist(s) and Council communicates with legislators
A lot of commentators at the News-Leader's Web site, including the editorial board of the News-Leader itself, are spending time today complaining about a discussion that took place at the City Council meeting on Monday.
The News-Leader editorial board complained that 40 minutes were spent on a topic of discussion that has little to do with Council responsibilities. Commentators chided Councilman Ibarra particularly, and the whole Council in general for wasting time. Most of the commentators are claiming the Council has no input on federal legislation.
This might be a good time to remind the public that the City Council has had paid lobbyists in the past, and may have paid lobbyists today who are tasked with lobbying state and federal governments. Every year the City Council updates and approves a list of your municipality's legislative priorities. The City Council has, and likely still is, using taxpayer funding to pay lobbyists to appeal to state and federal legislators regarding the interests of the City of Springfield, or at least its City officials.
It would be a fallacy to make the claim that our City Council doesn't have any input on state or federal legislation.
Apparently, the City's new legislative priority list for 2010 has not yet been added to the site map at the City's Web site. In 2009, the priority list was introduced, in part, with these words, "The following legislative priorities are established for the 2009 Session of the Missouri General Assembly: Environment and Quality of Life; Economic Development; Finance and Taxation; Municipal Administration and Intergovernmental Relations."
In 2009, I was present at the Finance and Administration Committee meeting when legislative priorities were first discussed. A reduction in the number of lobbyists Springfield retained, due to budget restraints, was also discussed and Springfield's City attorney Dan Wichmer, recommended Springfield not reduce them to zero. I can't remember for sure if Springfield retained one or two (and they called them both state and federal) lobbyists in 2009. I have inquired with the Springfield Public Information Office as to how many lobbyists the City of Springfield is retaining this year, if any. I will update this post when I receive the answer to that query.
In 2006 The Missouri Municipal League (MML) was listed as the client of 3 state lobbyists. In 2007, MML was listed as the client of 2 state lobbyists. The City of Springfield is a member of the Missouri Municipal League (see: National Institute on Money in State Politics). The MML is another way Missouri City Councils and/or City officials have sway over state legislators/legislation.