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Township awards strategic planning project

By Dana Casadei


In an unanimous vote of approval, Berry Dunn was awarded the strategic planning project at the Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, March 25.


According to township supervisor Dani Walsh, the last time the township did a strategic plan was in 2009 and it expired in 2014, and a lot has happened since then. 


Walsh said that the strategic planning selection committee – which consisted of Walsh, trustee Stephanie Fakih, Noah Mehalski, director for the department of public works, Jason Theis, accounting director, and Sue Bowlin, administrative assistant to the township supervisor – had hoped for a few bidders for the project, and were pleasantly surprised when they ended up with seven.


The seven bidders had costs that varied from the lowest at $52,600 from LeadGov, all the way to Wilcox Consulting LLC’s staggering proposed budget of $322,787.50.


Out of the seven bidders, the committee immediately eliminated four: Crowe LLP, Government Leadership Solutions, LeaderGov and Wilcox Consulting LLC, each of which had noticeable absences of both a statistically relevant survey and an online portal for stakeholder engagement in their proposal.


Walsh said that while the costs of some of those bidders were lower than others, not having that statistically relevant survey as a line item in the proposal could later cost the township an additional $15-20,000.


After the initial round of interviews, the two finalists – Berry Dunn and Future IQ – were given another questionnaire asking them to highlight what sets them apart regarding statistically relevant data and community engagement, with the strategic planning committee ultimately selecting the former. 


Berry Dunn’s extensive community engagement plan included an interactive portal, statistically valid community survey and in-person meetings, all of which played to what the committee was looking for when selecting a vendor for this type of project.


“I don’t think we can go wrong using them,” said Fakih, who also mentioned how great it was to serve on the committee.


Although Berry Dunn is based in Maine, they have two employees on their support staff who are Michigan natives, and their proposal included multiple team members being in Bloomfield Township, who will collect data from residents everywhere from libraries and local basketball games to those who work on the township’s campus. 


They told the committee they would keep engaging with people until the statistically relevant survey was done.


Other key factors in the committee’s decision to suggest Berry Dunn to the board of trustees included their promise of having multiple team members dedicated to being in Michigan; the statistically relevant survey as a line item in their proposal; and their lead facilitator has 30 years of experience in strategic planning, as well as prior government experience, serving on a board similar to that of the board of trustees. 


The project is being paid for from the township’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, and will not exceed $97,300. With this recommendation’s approval, it will also allow the township supervisor to authorize to approve an additional 10 percent should there be a documented and significant deviation from the project’s current scope of work or time proposal. This would also be paid from the ARPA funds.


A strategic plan such as this will be a coordinated effort between trustees, department heads, employees, residents and other key stallholders in the community. Berry Dunn will develop a strategic plan tailored to the township’s requirements, and provide a blueprint for success by providing the tools needed to navigate through any anticipated difficulties.

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