Prince William County has hired a new legislative liaison officer three months after its first full-time Richmond representative resigned amid conflict-of-interest allegations.
The new liaison officer will be Barry R. Lawrence, 27, now town manager of Purcellville and a graduate of the University of Virginia. Starting Sept. 7, Lawrence will report to the Prince William Board of Supervisors on pending state legislation that would affect the county. His salary will be $22,069 a year.
He also will make the county's concerns known in Richmond, although the county does not consider the legislative liaison to be a lobbyist, said assistant county attorney Sharon Pandak, a former part-time county legislative liaison.
State law limits the type of lobbying local governments can engage in. "This legislative liaison is not high-pressure lobbying," she said. "We bring to the their attention the county's concerns on legislation. It's within the limits of the law."
Lawrence replaces Katherine Sobrio, who resigned under pressure in April after she circulated nomination petitions for State Sen. Charles J. Colgan and Del. David G. Brickley, two Prince William Democrats. Both are unopposed for reelection this fall.
Sobrio's resignation came a few weeks after the job of legislative liaison was upgraded by the supervisors to a full-time position. Sobrio was made the first full-time liasion in April.
Lawrence said he thinks Prince William's rapid growth in the past decade will make it a moving force in the state legislature.
"We're the fastest-growing county, and we're close to the District," he said. "This is the most exciting county in the state right now."