The Berke administration on Tuesday defended the hiring of the PFM public financial consulting firm to help with the city's new Budgeting For Outcomes approach.
Brent Goldberg, deputy chief operating officer, told City Council members, "It's a good idea to use consultants for implementing Budgeting For Outcomes. It saves you time and resources."
He said the new administration is making a dramatic change in the way city departments work out their annual budgets. "It's a big deal," he said.
The council on Tuesday night unanimously approved the contract with PFM.
Mr. Goldberg said for the initial launch of the new strategy the administration asked department heads to cut their budgets by five percent. He said that yielded a pool of $7 million to use in the pilot program for Budgeting for Outcomes.
He said a Results Team rated various departmental projects that were submitted for use of part of the $7 million. Those had to be geared toward one of the main administration goals as gleaned from public input, it was stated.
Those are having safer streets, building stronger neighborhoods, strengthening the local economy and having an innovative government.
Mr. Goldberg said some of the offerings included unique collaboration between several departments.
He said the projects chosen included adding 40 police officers, creating a design division in the transportation department, and hiring a federal prosecutor.
Mr. Goldberg said PFM will help with a nine-month full implementation of Budgeting for Outcomes for the upcoming fiscal year budget. He said that will be the extent of the consulting firm's work for the city on Budgeting For Outcomes. It will involve all departments and all of the city's 2,700 employees, he said.
He said an RFQ went out in September for a financial consulting firm to help with Budgeting For Outcomes. He said a five-member administration team ranked PFM the best over two other applicants - the Center for Priority Based Budgeting of Denver and New Brain of Arlington, Va.
Selection team members were Daisy Madison and Freida Kitchen from finance, Todd Dockery from human resources, David Carmody from purchasing and Stacy Richardson, chief policy officer.
He said all five rated PFM as the best, and as a whole they chose PFM.