Columbus councilors voted unanimously to authorize the city to negotiate a $100,000 contract with an efficiency consultant with an eye toward saving money and improving services to taxpayers.
Management Partners Inc. of Cincinnati was chosen from a field of 17 applicants to create a method to constantly collect and analyze data from city departments, identify problem areas and develop solutions.
The contract would be for one year, with two option years at council's approval.
"The purpose of (the contract) was really to make sure that the process was going to provide efficient and effective use of taxpayers' dollars, which is one of our number one concerns, and to make sure we're implementing best practices when providing services to the community," city Finance Director Pam Hodge told councilors.
Hodge said the strategies the consultant would use to improve performance would include analysis reporting, benchmarking, leadership assessment, strategic planning, human resources utilization and budget and efficiency assessment.
If an acceptable contract can be negotiated, the company would assess the police department and the tax assessors first, but Hodge said the yearlong contract, funds for which are already in the city budget, would be able to assess many more departments throughout the year.
The city selected the police department as one department because it will simultaneously be undergoing an internal audit by City Auditor John Redmond.
"The money's in the budget, and I think it might be worthwhile to give it a shot," Councilor Skip Henderson said. "We can evaluate it at the end of the year and see if it met what we're trying to do."