Local News

Council May Spend More Than $15,000 On Yet Another Consultant

March 27, 2012

A popular definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. On the same night the Tusayan Town Council complained about the bills it was getting from a   private contractor hired to provide advice about development, the council moved ahead with discussions to pay another private contractor more than $15,000 to provide advice about development. The town would also be billed $850 when one of the consultants comes to Tusayan.

The consulting firm is Brown and Young, based on Colorado. They’ve made a pitch to do a housing study.  Coconino County might have been able to perform this task at a more reasonable rate, but the town fired them more than a year ago, preferring to go with private contractors.

Councilman Bill Fitzgerald seemed to be the voice of reason on this issue.  He would have preferred a more formal bidding process and he thought that any company asking for so much money from the Town coffers ought to make their pitch in person, “Everyone one of the consultants we’ve ever hired here or thought about hiring always came to give a presentation about their qualifications.”

Mayor Bryan disagreed. He said he felt no face to face meeting was needed and that a formal pitch can be made on the phone.

Fitzgerald also expressed concerns that Brown and Young may have construction connections, “Do we have any idea where they will go with this after they get through with the consulting proposal? Are they going to ask for a construction job from us for doing this?”

In the end the council voted to continue discussions about hiring this firm. All but Councilman Fitzgerald seemed to be friendly to the idea of hiring yet another consultant.

If all of these fees for consultants seem to be piling up, it’s not your imagination. The town’s population is too small to sustain any type of staff so these services are generally farmed out. The irony is before incorporation Coconino County handled all of the planning and zoning chores. They did so professionally and with a wealth of experience.

Because of incorporation, and the Town Council’s decision to fire Coconino County’s planning department, that expertise is no more in Tusayan.  Instead, private contractors have been lining up collecting thousands of dollars each month from town coffers. When incorporation backers made their pitch, they promised the Town would benefit. So far, the only beneficiaries are the out-of-town private contractors hired by the Town Council.