Berliner Takes on Consulting Role

Berliner Takes on Consulting Role

Former council member may not discuss county issues with council or county executive for one year

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Former Montgomery County Council member Roger Berliner has started a consulting firm with a former member of the Arlington County Board.

DMV Strategic Advisors LLC will advise business, nonprofits and local governments throughout the Washington region, according to a news release sent out Monday.

The firm will also include a seven-member board of advisers of former government and business leaders.

Berliner, 67, a three-term council member who could not run for re-election this year due to term limits, lost his bid earlier this year for county executive, finishing fourth among six Democrats in the primary.

Berliner said in an interview Monday that he didn’t want to retire.

“I reflected on my life with my wife … and I ultimately concluded that I have too much to do,” he said.

Berliner said he took a month off after the primary and then began discussing the idea of starting a business with Jay Fisette, who announced last year he would not seek another term on the Arlington, Va., board.

Berliner and Fisette were on the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments — an intergovernmental organization that includes policy experts from across the region.

Berliner said Strategic Advisors LLC will not have an office.

“We’re on call 24/7. We’re a virtual office, and my office will be my home,” he said.

Berliner is an attorney specializing in legislative advocacy, and said he will continue to maintain his practice while also working as a managing partner at Strategic Advisors LLC.

Berliner said he hopes businesses and governments in the region will rely on the firm for assistance. Some of the key issue-areas the firm will focus on are smart growth, economic development and transportation.

“Imagine that there was a solar company that came to us and said, ‘we really feel like the region is underserved by solar.’ We would sit down with them and develop a strategy and do every piece of this that you wanted them to do,” he said.

Berliner is prohibited from discussing county issues with members of the council under the county’s ethics rules, but is allowed to meet with County Executive Marc Elrich if invited.

Asked anything needed to be done to change Montgomery County’s business image in the wake of Amazon’s decision to build one of its new headquarters in Crystal City, Va., Berliner said he believes that simply being chosen as one of the top 20 finalists was still a sign of the county’s strengths. Amazon’s presence in the region, he said is still a “win” for the county.

“We [in Montgomery County] shouldn’t be feeling too badly about who we are and what we can still do,” he said.

 Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com

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