Monday, April 14, 2008
City Consulting Cost Exceeds Budget
Last year, the administration proposed and the City Council approved a request for proposals from consultants to study expansion of Fayetteville's recycling program to businesses and apartment complexes, and $100,000 was appropriated for the study. Alderman Brenda Thiel and a committees of city administrators rejected a proposal from Springline Consulting Group of Fayetteville and chose R. W. Beck, Inc. of Austin, Texas. Thiel's committee negotiated a deal with R. W. Beck, Inc., and now they want more money.
On the City Council's agenda tomorrow is a resolution to jack up the cost for Beck's consulting to $110,700. It will probably pass, because anyone who dares vote against it will be tarred by Mayor Dan Coody and his chorus as being against recycling and sustainability in general. That's too bad, because sustainability applies to revenues and budgets as much as to recycling bottles, and it considers the advantages of using local people and resources. Hiring out-of-state people takes money out of the local economy and increases the carbon footprint when they hop a plane or make the 1,060 mile gas-guzzling round trip drive from Austin.
Aubrey Shepherd also points out on one of his fine blogs that Dr. Stephan Pollard and Dr. Jennie Popp at the University of Arkansas have been studying commercial and multi-family recycling programs since 2004 and have published a comprehensive three-part study on optimizing multi-family recycling systems. City staff could have read that for free. They also could have taken some free hints from the University's award-winning recycling efforts.
Here's some free consulting advice. Point one, we have outstanding local consultants and a powerhouse of resources at the University of Arkansas, so consider a closer partnership with local institutions. Point two, sustainability applies to fiscal resources as well as to physical ones, so consider hiring local professionals who spend locally and don't be so quick to send taxpayer dollars to out-of-state consultants. You can stick that on the shelf with all the other consulting studies for which our city has paid good money.