Consultant needed to guide city in developing strategic plan

Fee could cost taxpayers up to $100,000.

The city will spend up to $100,000 for a consultant to help council create a corporate strategic plan on determine spending priorities.

Council on Monday approved the creation of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee, which will include Couns. Jim Kipp, Ted Greves and Diana Johnstone.

A request for proposals was issued on Nov. 21 to seek a consultant who specializes in strategic planning. The RFP attracted 15 proposals, the winner of whom has yet to be selected.

Nanaimo Mayor John Ruttan said despite a city staff payroll of $40 million and nine elected councillors, sometimes an outside point of view is beneficial.

“The question is how do we get this started?” said Ruttan. “Do we get staff to tell them what they should be doing? If senior staff tell them what to do and how to do it, then is that considered truly unbiased? If it’s unbiased, we will get some objective ideas on how things are successfully implemented elsewhere and that’s what we’re looking for here.”

Ruttan said the steering committee will be developed to ensure the city’s corporate strategic plan is headed in the right direction, using ideas and experiences that were successful in other municipalities.

“The public constantly questions if council and staff are making the right decisions,” said Ruttan. “Taxpayers want assurance that the right job is being done and this addresses that. It provides another viewpoint and will answer a lot of questions.”

Once established, the committee will be expected to make recommendations to city council and develop an official strategic plan based on those recommendations. Once that plan is adopted the committee will no longer exist.

It was announced last week that an internal auditor position is also eyed for city hall to help find spending efficiencies. That position will cost taxpayers about $145,000.