By Jeff Gallatin
City officials believe their contract with MB3 Consulting is worth its weight in potential gold to North Olmsted and were prepared to renew the contract again last night.
A new two-year agreement was expected to be considered by City Council for final approval at its regular meeting last night. Council and Mayor Kevin Kennedy’s administration were initially planning to move ahead with another one-year agreement with the firm, which has been utilized by the city since 2010. Council’s Finance Committee recommended approving a new deal at its April 9 meeting. However, at the meeting, Finance Committee Chairman Paul Barker asked city officials pleased with MP3’s work why the city didn’t pursue a longer contract with the firm.
MP3’s economic development consultant with the city, Greg Myers, has worked with the city since May 2007. He worked for Silverlode Consulting from 2007 through early 2010, while it had the city contract for economic development consultant work. When there were changes at Silverlode, Myers moved to MP3 in April 2010. Shortly afterward, the city awarded the economic development consulting contract to MP3.
Prior to last night’s meeting, officials cited Myers’ previous work and familiarity with northern Ohio, North Olmsted and government and business officials in the area as reasons for dispensing with the request for proposal process and again rewarding the contract to MP3.
“Greg Myers has been doing a great job for the city for several years now,” Barker said prior to last night’s meeting. “It makes sense to retain MP3 and him for more than one year to keep that experience around working for the city.”
Mayor Kevin Kennedy, who sponsored the resolution, said retaining MP3 is the best option for the city.
“I think it was a great idea by Councilman Barker to keep them for more than one year,” he said. “It allows us to keep on working with them.”
Both Barker and Kennedy said officials from the city and MP3 were working on final details for the new pact, and anticipated that with a two-year deal, MP3 would drop its hourly rate from its initial proposal of $150 per hour. Since MP3 first got the contract, the costs to the city have been $44,637 for 2010-2011 and $46,140 for 2011-2012. One bill, at $36,030, remains for 2012-2013. With a monthly rate, Silverlode’s initial contract cost $58,500.
Planning and development Director Kim Wenger also endorsed retaining MP3.
“He (Myers) has provided a high quality of work for the city for a number of years,” she said. “He also has strong institutional knowledge of economic development concerns in the city, as well as the current economic climate.”
Wenger said since the contract expires in April, approving the contract quickly was best for the city.