SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

March 10, 2008

'He was worth every penny' 'Sand-a Claus' lobbyist earns praise from beach towns

(Continued)

The homeowners group has since formed the nonprofit Plum Island Foundation to raise and manage beach replenishment funds. Marlowe has started working on behalf of the foundation to get appropriations requests into the hands of the appropriate congressional staffers.

Neither Newbury nor Newburyport has employed lobbying services in the past. Since the homeowners first went public in late November with the proposal to hire Marlowe, questions have been raised about what a lobbyist could do for the communities that their own congressional delegation could not.

Judging from the responses of municipal officials in New York, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida, the answer seems to be a lot.

East Hampton, N.Y., at the eastern end of Long Island, has been working with Marlowe & Co. for about 16 months, according to Lynn Ryan, executive assistant to Town Supervisor William McGintee.

She said with Marlowe & Co.'s help, the town had obtained $4.3 million in federal funding for projects in the current fiscal year and has a similar amount requested for next fiscal year.

"They work through our senators and representatives," she said of Marlowe staffers. "They're extremely knowledgeable about these projects. They know which documents you're supposed to file. When we hired them, everything got to where it was supposed to go. Before, we were getting nothing, zip."

Tom Hogg and Michael Moore are the town managers in the neighboring communities of Topsail Beach and Surf City, both on Topsail Island on the south coast of North Carolina. Together with the town of North Topsail Beach, the communities have retained Marlowe & Co. as a group for the past four years.

Hogg said Topsail Beach has just undergone a $1.5 million beach replenishment with Marlowe's help.

Moore said one of Marlowe's strengths is "getting folks to understand your beach erosion problem."

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