EDITORIAL: Spending never stops, especially with consultants around

Governments, be they municipal, regional, provincial or federal seem to have a love affair with consulting companies.

Consultation — it’s a great career if you can get into it. In a time when many businesses and even industries are struggling to stay afloat, consulting seems to have a never ending line up of clients wanting to hire them.

That is as long as governments refuse to use their own staff.

Governments, be they municipal, regional, provincial or federal seem to have a love affair with consulting companies.

The Regional District of Central Kootenay is one example. While it is admirable that the RDCK has agreed to allow the City of Nelson to submit a formal proposal regarding sharing office space in the White Building (310 Ward Street), it also plans to hire a consultant to perform an independent business case analysis.

Doesn’t the RDCK have high paid staff that can handle such a routine endeavour?

While ensuring the appearance of fairness is important — that is why an  “independent” consultant is to be hired — is it worth the thousands of dollars that consultant will be paid?

Surely taxpayers have spent enough to foot the bill of regular RDCK employees that it isn’t necessary to add another contracted employee on to the ever-growing list.

Staff are hired to help board members, city councillors or other elected officials make decisions by providing insight and expertise. Why do we need an outside source to do their job?

It’s not just the RDCK. The City of Nelson could be on the verge of making the same error – again.

A marketing firm is asking for $33,000 from the taxpayers to create a new branding strategy for Nelson.

While Mayor John Dooley voiced concerns about the proposal, council has directed staff to look into it.

If a brand is really that important, doesn’t it make sense to have staff create the strategy, rather than look into it?

The last time the city examined a new “look” or marketing tool, it spend $60,000 on a logo (often referred to as the flying bra) which it never uses.

Money well spent.

At a time when most people and businesses are continuing to be financially frugal, governments need to tow that line.

Consulting fees should be the first thing to go.