On Friday afternoon, KPMG will wash their hands of the Prince George core services review process and deliver their final report.
The 1 p.m. select committee on a core services review meeting at City Hall will allow committee members Mayor Shari Green, councillors Frank Everitt, Albert Koehler and Cameron Stolz and the remaining ex-officio members of council the chance to peruse what they've already paid the consultants $285,913.81 for.
During the Oct. 29 council meeting, Coun. Murry Krause was curious as to what the rest of the process - post-final report - would look like.
While she's waiting until the core services review committee has a chance to discuss it, Green said she would like to see the report brought before council in a committee of the whole session.
"And the [select committee] will probably have some recommendation on Friday on some things that are absolute Nos, some things that are an absolute Yes, we think that's one we've got to do right now, whatever that may be," the mayor said.
So far, the only thing certain about the future of Prince George's core services review process is that council will make the ultimate decision.
Back in September, after the select committee received the original draft of 193 suggested opportunities, Mayor Green stressed the need for the nine-person body to have time to digest the final document.
"We're going to read the report, go through all the reasons why we do or don't support them," she said. "And just like every other decision of council, at the end of the day, the majority will decide what initiatives to proceed with and what initiatives not to proceed with."
But that's not to say that council will be the only ones doing the leg work before making those decisions.
As has been demonstrated in other cities that have gone through the review process, a large onus could be placed on city staff to do the leg work regarding the feasibility of the consultants' suggestions.
Toronto community organizer Sean Meagher, who spent an evening last month sharing the "cautionary tale" of his city's experience with Prince George residents, said that most of the activity happens at the staff level during and after the process.
"You pay $350,000 and most of the work is done by your staff... to find data KPMG will use to get rid of their jobs," he said.
In his opinion, the KPMG exercise was "such a weak effort at analysis at how to run a city well, that KPMG was backing away from [their opportunities]."
In their final report to Toronto city council in July 2011, KPMG clearly drew the line between where their job ends and council's begins.
"It is noted that decisions about the options and opportunities identified are the responsibility of city council," the report says. "KPMG has made no effort to evaluate whether the negative impacts outweigh the savings possible."
"They're not telling you what would work well or effectively," Meagher added. "They're not finding efficiency in services you keep."
In Mission, Acton Consultants Ltd. handed in their final report for the district's core services review in mid-July. After a public meeting to present the findings, the report was sent to staff to give feedback on the facts, said chief administrative officer Ken Bjorgaard.
He said the purpose of hiring the firm was to get an objective and independent view of the organization, so all staff could do was provide factual context as opposed to giving their own opinion on the final report's 21 recommendations.
"There were fairly general recommendations inside of the core services review and some were a bit more specific, but staff have recommended to council which of those we should proceed with," Bjorgaard said.
Mission staff presented their comments to council at a Sept. 17 council meeting and councillors, opting to leave six of the recommendations for discussion at a later date, rubber stamped all but one of the remaining 15.
The Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) wrapped up their work with consultants and received the final report on their core services review from perivale & taylor in November 2011.
However, due to the municipal election, the report sat dormant and was not reviewed by the district's new board of directors until March 21 of this year.
In April, district staff presented their report to the board that parsed out 60 unique recommendations and categorized them into things that were already in progress, already completed, should be implemented, should not be implemented, need further analysis and are not worth pursuing.
Chief administrative officer George Murray said there were a series of recommendations that would make sense in other organizations that wouldn't necessarily suit the Fraser Valley Regional District.
"Every organization is very unique and different and consultants often look at what's going on, best practices in other locales," he said. "When they come, they come with some preconceived notions and not all of them are transferable. So we had to sift through some of the non-transferable ones."
This was reiterated in the staff report to the FVRD board, which stated "the consultants often lack both the context and a deep understanding of the organization. This is in fact the case in the FVRD's core services review."
The final report is "just the beginning of a change process," Bjorgaard said. "It may be brought on by things like the core services review - it heightens it - but continuous improvement is the responsibility of all local governments on an ongoing basis and senior staff on an ongoing basis within the organization and, in fact, all staff within an organization."
In Toronto, the multitude of recommendations in their final report turned into a work plan that will guide the city for a number of years, said Toronto's corporate policy manager Fiona Murray.
"There were some opportunities identified by KPMG in the core services review that ended up being submitted to our budget cycle. And there were a whole list of other opportunities that we ended up packaging into further operational studies," she said.