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Consolidation Consultant Retained by Hopewell For “Strategic Review”

The Center for Governmental Research (CGR), the Rochester-based, independent, nonprofit management consulting organization that helped guide Princeton’s consolidation and transition processes, has been retained by Hopewell Township in Mercer County to “conduct a strategic review of efficiency opportunities in its administrative functions and service delivery,” according to CGR spokesperson Vicki Brown. The project is expected to be completed mid-2013, and will cost approximately $70,400.

“I think their work is terrific, and they’re terrific to work with,” said Princeton Consolidation Commission Chair Anton Lahnston of his experiences working with CGR.

CGR President Joseph Stefko is project director and a senior consultant to the new project team, and CGR Senior Associate Scott Sittig is serving as project manager for the Hopewell initiative. Both Mr. Stefko and Mr. Sittig participated in the Princeton engagement.

Although no specific requests for recommendations were made, Mr. Lahnston recalled speaking with at least one elected official from Hopewell when he attended a Princeton Public Library open meeting on consolidation. He also remembered talking with Mr. Stefko about Hopewell.

“As I understand it, their work is focused on how to create some better opportunities for shared services,” Mr. Lahnston said. “It makes perfectly good sense to me. There are some obvious similarities with Princeton, and CGR has become familiar with this geographic area and some of the ‘inuenendos’ of the State’s Department of Community Affairs.”

“The Hopewell project is a different type of study from Princeton, in that it seeks to identify internal efficiency opportunities,” confirmed Ms. Brown. “It does not concern consolidation, but, in a general sense, the objectives are similar: reviewing operations, service and governance options in an effort to enhance quality, generate cost savings and/or improve the overall effectiveness of the Township’s operations and services to the community.”

The CGR/Hopewell project will involve a “comprehensive” review of existing municipal services and processes as a baseline for developing “a range of options for enhancing efficiency, both town-wide and within individual departments,” said Ms. Brown. Particular attention will paid to finding opportunities to reduce costs to the Township and taxpayers; free up resources that can be reallocated to other municipal and community priorities; and “enable service-level enhancements within the existing cost structure.”

Hopewell Township serves a growing population of 17,300 in a 58-square-mile area 40 miles northeast of Philadelphia. It is a full-service municipality, providing a range of services including police, public works, tax collection, court, and tax assessment. It was incorporated by the New Jersey Legislature in 1798.

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