Since city council won't organize another official public consultation on the core services review process, the city's two unions are putting together their own.
CUPE local 1048 president Janet Bigelow confirmed that her group is working with CUPE local 399 to stage a forum for public feedback on KPMG's list of cost-saving and efficiency opportunities.
No date has been set yet, but Bigelow said it won't be until after the consultants release their final report at the end of the month to ensure everyone is commenting on the right document.
"Everyone's time is valuable, so we don't want to waste people's time," she said. "It would be far better to just weigh in on the actual opportunities that they are looking at seriously."
On Monday night, Bigelow made a presentation to council on behalf of the unions requesting a townhall meeting where the public could openly discuss the list of 193 suggested opportunities for change.
Council ultimately shot down the idea, with concerns regarding the delay in getting the final report back from KPMG and the additional cost of bringing the consultants to town to facilitate the meeting.
Bigelow said she understands that the input provided at the union-organized forum will not make it into the final report, but that it's important for the mayor and councillors to hear what residents have to say.
"When you have people separated into three rooms and you have mayor and council going from room to room, every time you leave one room, they lose input from that one room," Bigelow said, referring to the setup of Tuesday night's KPMG-led public workshop at the Civic Centre. "I think it would be an easier forum for them if they were in the same room with everyone."
Hearing what everyone has to say is something that's been missing from the process, according to Bigelow. She said city staff felt it was "a bit of a slight" to not have the mayor or council members show up to listen in on the two consultations KPMG had with them this week.
"We find that this is important to the employees as well and they feel that their voice should be heard by council and mayor as well," she said.
The scope of public consultation can run the gamut from very broad to none at all when local governments undergo a core services review.
In Toronto, the city manager's office - not KMPG - ran their public consultations in 2011.
"We did a really robust public consultation engagement process on our core services review," said Fiona Murray, Toronto's corporate policy manager.
In addition to an online survey tool, there were also eight public sessions spread across Toronto's sprawling boundaries.
The city also created online learning kits for community groups, residents and individual councillors to use to support their own discussions.
Toronto council's executive committee also sat through a nearly 20-hour meeting with 361 deputations from the public after the final list of recommendations was unveiled.
On the flip side, when the Fraser Valley Regional District completed the core services review process, they did so without looking outside of the bureaucracy.
The district's chief administrative officer George Murray said consultants perivale + taylor sent out questionnaires and surveys to the various mayors, councillors and senior administrators.
"There was not a lot of public input," he said. The regional district didn't leave a lot of room in the review budget for consultation. They advertised for consultants who could work within a set cost of $40,000. "And that's maybe what we gave up by setting that price."
In addition to the date-to-be determined public meeting, the two Prince George unions are also bringing Toronto community organizer Sean Meagher to town on Oct. 16. His presentation will provide insight on how community members can get engaged in the core services review process and will take place at College of New Caledonia in room 1306 at 7 p.m.