At the Dec. 3 Great Bend City Council meeting, council members approved a contract with the Austin Peters Group for strategic planning at a cost of $10,867.50. Now, the development of that three-year plan is underway, City Administrator Kendal Francis told council members Monday night.
Francis is setting up times for each council member to have one-on-one meetings with consultants. The idea is for them to share their ideas, goals and priorities.
But, there is a community part of this effort as well, he said.
“Also part of this is that they are creating a community survey,” he said. This will be a simple survey that can be taken on-line, but hard copies will also be distributed to such locations as City Hall, the Front Door, the Senior Center, the Great Bend Public Library and other sites for those who would rather complete it that way.
“That is almost complete,” he said. He intends to send it out to council members to look at this week.
The goal is to make it available to the public through February, Francis said. There will be a link on city’s website at greatbendks.net and through the city’s social media sites.
What led to this?
The issue of a strategic consultant was sparked by the importance given to planning during Francis’ job interview, he said. In addition to the plan, APG will help create vision, mission and value statements.
The Overland Park-based Austin Peters Group was the first choice recommended by a majority of the selection committee and comes highly recommended by other organizations.
Making up the selection committee were Francis, City Clerk Shawna Schafer, City Attorney Bob Suelter and Human Resources Director Randy Keesling.
In short, the proposal for a three-year plan includes the following:
• The project team will work with the City Council and specified staff in the creation of the city’s three-year strategic plan.
• APG’s team will interview council member and other city officials to learn perceptions of the most important issues and gather ideas.
• APG will hold stakeholder group meetings with five to seven groups to be defined in cooperation with city officials.
• Conduct the online community survey.
• Develop the city’s strategic plan and goals.
Hiring the firm did not come without controversy. The APG plan was approved in December, but it was by a split council.
It was proposed the same night as a proposal to hire Birmingham, Alabama-based Retail Strategies for retail development and recruitment efforts. This was tabled to this past Monday’s meeting where it failed.