A Los Angeles-based cable television consultant who helped design cable systems in Montgomery County and Baltimore has been hired by the D.C. cable design commission to guide Washington's entry into the potentially lucrative cable franchising business.

The consultant, Carl Pilnick, could receive about $40,000 over the next year for his part in writing the city's formal request for bids from cable companies and for his help in evaluating their responses.

The commission also announced yesterday that it has awarded an $8,000 technical services contract to Sylvia J. Potts, a minority consultant based in the District. Potts, who has served as a consultant to the Philadelphia City Council, is a former communications law specialist for the law firms of Arnold & Porter and Kirkland & Ellis.

Pilnick was chosen over several locally based minority firms because of his experience, according to Antonio Ruiz, executive director of the commission.

"If you read the proposals, it becomes very obvious that it came down to CTIC a losing bidder from Northern Virginia and Pilnick," Ruiz said. "He has the experience and the knowledge. The last thing we wanted to do is mess around with the RFP." The RFP request for proposal is the formal document that spells out the legal and technical requirements that cable firms must meet in bidding for the franchise.

The firms that lost out to Pilnick included CTIC, a profit-making arm of Cable Television Information Center, a nonprofit clearing house; Metro Study Corp., a D.C.-based firm established to bid on the cable contract; Covington & Burling law firm, and Interstellar Media, a D.C.-based minority firm.

Both Pilnick, who was traveling to Miami where he is also a cable consultant, and Potts were unavailable for comment yesterday.

The cable commission, which is scheduled to submit the RFP to the City Council for ratification by July 1, has previously awarded three other contracts.

The commission earlier this month chose Elliot Maxwell, a D.C.-based company, to conduct a technological feasibility study of fiber optic transmissions. Jean Rice Associates/Tom Wolfsohn and Associates were selected to determine community needs for cable.

Rice, whose firm is located in the District, also is studying the feasibility of multiple franchises and the possible involvement of the C&P Telephone Co. in constructing and operating the cable franchise.