PBC Day: No beads, but lotsa schmoozeby John Kennedy | March 9th, 2011
More than 100 Palm Beach County officials, business leaders and staff fanned out Wednesday across the Capitol in another recession-era version of the Legislature’s annual Palm Beach County Day.
Gone are the beads – the colorful and increasingly elaborate symbols of the county’s visits, usually timed near Mardi Gras. Instead, those attending the schmooze-fest said the event was mostly business.
“I’ve had my day planned out to the minute,” said County Commissioner Steve Abrams. “It’s very strategic, who we’re meeting with and when.”
Still, the 2011 model retained the high-end sponsors — Florida Crystals Corp., Realtors Association, and Schoolhouse Consulting Group were among those underwriting the festivities, which included steamtables of pasta and steamships of beef at an evening reception in the Senate portico.
The out-of-towners met with Senate President Mike Haridopolos, House Speaker Dean Cannon, heard a presentation from Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, and walked the halls meeting with committee chairmen and upcoming legislative leaders.
The topics varied. But a chief push was for legislation cracking down on prescription drug abuse, restricting pain management clinics that double as pill mills.
“That’s really a top issue for us this year,” said county lobbyist Todd Bonlarron.
Some 40 Palm Beach County firefighters also coursed through the Capitol, meeting with lawmakers on proposed changes to pension benefits, which most public employees are resisting.
Some of the issues lobbied by county officials were deep in the weeds of government. Local option fuel taxes, renewable energy, Enterprise Zone boundaries, and efforts to bring jobs to the Lake Okeechobee area proved the stuff of the group’s talking points.
“It’s good to get to know people who can have an effect on us, and also on what happens here,” Abrams said.
Tags: Palm Beach County day