The city of Moline has terminated its relationship with Strategia Consulting LLC, the Chicago public relations firm hired by former Mayor Stephanie Acri and previous council members in February at a cost of $5,000 per month. The agreement was to last through the end of December.
Council members unanimously approved a resolution to end the agreement with the firm during the May 18 committee of the whole meeting, with a motion from Alderman Matt Timion, Ward 4; and a second motion from Alderman Alvaro Macias, Ward 2.
The expense had not been included in the city's budget.
"Because the city has plans to hire an in-house communications specialist and because the legislative session concludes at the end of this month, it is an appropriate time to reexamine the city’s future communication and lobbying needs," the resolution states.
The firm was hired to help the city with messaging, but also to assist in legislative lobbying efforts with the University of Illinois in the hopes the school would set up a campus on riverfront land the city will reclaim after the old I-74 bridge is removed.
Acri alleged Western Illinois University was suffering from low enrollment and poor development. With the Quad-City Chamber of Commerce, Acri began courting the University of Illinois in early 2020 in an effort to replace WIU with an engineering-focused program.
After Acri and three incumbent aldermen lost their seats in the April 6 municipal election, Western Illinois University’s president, Guiyou Huang, said the school was committed to staying in the Quad-Cities and expanding its footprint.
Newly-elected Mayor Sangeetha Rayapati had been critical of the city's efforts to dissolve its partnership with WIU during her campaign for mayor.