The City of Kingston has selected StrategyCorp, a Toronto-based public affairs, communications, and management consulting firm, to facilitate the development of the 2023-2026 Strategic Plan. The strategic plan, developed at the start of each Council term, sets the City’s priorities for the next four years. According to a staff report presented to councillors in advance of Council’s meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, the City received four proposals in response to a request for quotation, which was issued on January 9, 2023.
“StrategyCorp has conducted strategic planning efforts for a variety of clients across several industries, including public sector clients and municipal Councils. They have extensive experience and proven methodology for an iterative approach to the development of the Strategic Plan,” noted the report. While the report indicated the three factors applicants were evaluated on — pricing, relevant experience, and proposed facilitation — specific scores for each applicant were not made public.
During Tuesday night’s council meeting, Lanie Hurdle, the City’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), explained why StrategyCorp’s proposal stood out from the rest. “They [were] the only ones that have, in their proposal, indicated that they would reach out to members of Council… before the session, which I think is very important. They [also] came forward with more experience than the other proponents.”
For its facilitation services, the City of Kingston will pay StrategyCorp $65,000, with planning sessions set to take place over three days this March. When asked how these fees compare to what the City paid in 2018 when it hired Suzanne Gibson and Associates to facilitate, Hurdle confirmed the cost is higher this time around. “I don’t have the exact number… but I would say between the various sessions that we had [in 2018], we probably [paid] in the range of $40,000 to $50,000… This one is a bit higher.”
The CAO also noted that StrategyCorp will conduct one-on-one meetings with every councillor before the official strategic planning sessions, something that did not occur in 2018. “I think this will be a good opportunity for every member of Council to provide some input as far as the process is concerned.”
With Council having officially selected StrategyCorp as the strategic planning facilitator, the City is now encouraging members of the public to share their priorities for the 2023-2026 Strategic Plan. The official strategic planning sessions will take place March 28 to 30, 2023, and will be open to the public. In consultation with StrategyCorp, City staff will prepare an implementation plan, which Council will approve along with the final list of priorities at a meeting in May.