Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr. said that throughout the AVI and school-funding debates, there "was not direct communication between the state legislature and City Council."
"Therefore, that has caused miscommunication [about] what each body was doing," he said.
Council members also have repeatedly expressed frustration that the city is being asked to find more money for the schools, blaming the district's deficit on state budget cuts.
"I continue to be amazed how, during this debate, the conversation centers around Council's willingness to do quote-unquote the right thing," Clarke said in an interview May 31. "But somehow lost in this equation is any commitment or level of pressure on the state."
Clarke was not available for comment Friday, and Nutter spokesman Mark McDonald said he would not comment on the Council president's move.
McDonald did say Nutter had consistently lobbied Harrisburg on funding for schools and social services - even if he has not been "at the head of a phalanx of Philadelphians on buses riding to the Capitol."
"As a regular visitor to the Capitol, I think his way is better," McDonald said.
The administration pays $120,000 to S.R. Wojdak & Associates and $66,000 to Loeper & Associates for lobbying in Harrisburg.
For work in Washington, the administration pays $100,000 each to the firms Holland & Knight and Gray Global Advisors, which is headed by former Philadelphia U.S. Rep. William H. Gray III.
Borski Associates, headed by former Philadelphia U.S. Rep. Robert A. Borski Jr., gets $65,000 to represent Philadelphia International Airport and the Water Department in Washington.
State Rep. Dwight Evans (D., Phila.) said Council's hiring its own lobbyist could send the message that Council and the mayor aren't working together - which could make it harder to persuade lawmakers to do things for the city.
"You have to be in sync on the subject matter," he said. "It gives others the sense of 'What's your message?' "
While it would be ideal if Council and the mayor could consistently speak with one voice, Goode said, Council's move to potentially hire its own lobbyist "reflects that we may have different goals sometimes."
Over the years, Council has kept consultants on its payroll, such as former Councilman Jack Kelly, who was paid to lobby Republicans in Harrisburg between his two stints on Council.
The process Clarke has started is a much more formal arrangement. Specifically, Clarke's office has issued a Request for Qualifications, asking firms to apply through the city's online contracting service.
The request does not bind Council to hiring a lobbyist, but the RFQ says Council intends to have a contract by July 16.
Councilman James F. Kenney, who has been in office for 20 years, said this was the first time he had seen Council seek to hire its own lobbyist. He declined to comment further until he learned more about Clarke's plans.
Employing a Council lobbyist in Washington also would be a novelty. According to federal lobbying records, only the New Orleans City Council has regularly paid for its own lobbyists, and that body hasn't done so since 2009.
The RFQ does not say how much Council would pay its lobbyist, but the money would come out of Council's budget.
Evans said a lobbyist could gather information for Council, but he reiterated that "if Council and the mayor are on the same page, that's the best thing you can do."
Contact Troy Graham at 215-854-2730 or email@example.com, or follow on Twitter @troyjgraham.