LEWISTON — The CEO of a national organizational research firm is scheduled to meet with local residents, businesses and government leaders to learn about efforts to consolidate Lewiston and Auburn.

“What we’ve tried to figure out is how to get this guy to understand our situation so he can tell us what he might or might not be able to do to help us,” said Gene Geiger, chairman of the Lewiston-Auburn Joint Charter Commission. “We want him to understand our situation, and he knows very little about it right now.”

The commission is hosting information sessions Wednesday and Thursday with Dr. Joseph Stefko, president and CEO of the Rochester, N.Y.-based consulting nonprofit CGR

“The idea is not just to have him talk to the six of us on the Charter Commission but with other parties who are interested or might even be opposed to all of this,” Geiger said.

He’ll meet with local business leaders from 3:30 to 5 p.m. and with people involved in past consolidation efforts from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m.

The meetings will continue Thursday morning with government officials and civic, education and nonprofit representatives. All of the meetings are scheduled at Geiger, 70 Mt. Hope Ave., Lewiston.

Geiger said CGR and Stefko were heavily involved in the municipal consolidation of Princeton Borough and Princeton Township in New Jersey in 2013.

“It was two cities that did what we are talking about, and it’s not too far off from our size,” he said. “It’s half of our size, but it’s not nothing. We’ve been looking at their process to see what we can learn.”

Twin Cities voters selected the six charter commissioners in June 2014, three from Auburn and three from Lewiston.

The group began working a year ago to draft a foundation document to combine Lewiston and Auburn into one city. The group has no deadline, no staff and whatever plans they come up with will go to the public for debate and an eventual vote. Fundraisers have collected $14,000 to pay legal and financial consultant fees.

Before deciding whether the national nonprofit can help, Geiger said the company should know something about the community.

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