Ann Arbor's Lobbyist
Who knew Ann Arbor had a lobbyist, much less one who could bring home so much bacon? "The contract with the city is ten years old now," explains Profit. "Several years back it became apparent to city council that Ann Arbor is one of the best communities in the country, but they weren't getting the leverage they needed with state resources. That's what I'm there for. Of course, Ann Arbor could build a skate park or a canoe livery if they wanted to, but there's no need for them to do so because there's the state government. That's what they're there for."
The city pays Profit's firm $48,000 a year from its general fund. Compared to this year's $600,000 payout, the lobbyist considers that "a pretty good ROI [return on investment]. But we also do quite a bit of other local government work, and not just natural resources. We worked on the Stadium Bridge, and we worked with [city CFO] Tom Crawford in employee compensation to make sure [new state] pension legislation reflected the interests of Ann Arbor."
Over more than twenty years in Lansing, Profit has seen state government change in many ways. "Term limits changed it dramatically. Term limits limit the pool of candidates and diminish the legislature's ability to deal with long-term and difficult issues. I watched Dave Hollister, the representative for the city of Lansing, deal with end-of-life issues, and it took him seventeen years to work through that."