First, let me say the consultant article posted by Mr. Tiernan is an excellent overview and covers many of the key issues very well, so I would certainly encourage you to take the time to read through it. And that's coming from a competitor, so you can rest assured of my sincerity.
With that said, there are a few considerations I might add to the excellent advice in Ms. Fitzsimmons' article.
While all grant-active organizations share some common threads, the truth is that each is in fact unique, and the scope and structure of a grants office will vary accordingly. Just a few factors to consider include organizational structure, pre-award and post-award skill sets available within the grant active departments, leadership style (possibly the most critical), past history (such as prior negative audit findings), organizational objectives, local priorities, demographic data that may enhance or detract from the City's competitiveness with common grants, benchmarking against peer cities with geographic and demographic similarities, etc. etc.
Circling back to "leadership style", something Ms. Fitzsimmons touches on is "achieving buy in". In as far as that recommendation goes, I would wholeheartedly agree. However, over the years, we've seen many operations struggle in spite of support voiced early in the process. What they all had in common was a lack of underlying policies and procedures that served as a means of enforcing / exercising that support when it's needed most. With a strong grant coordinator and solid support from City Management and your Finance department, there are any number of ways you can go about setting up your grants office and have an excellent chance for success. Without those things in place, you're headed for a lot of frustration.
Finally, the volume and type of grants the City is pursuing / managing will also dictate resources needed... both human and software. After reviewing the City's audit history and grant activity in the Federal database, I do have some recommendations on that front as well. However, I don't think a forum like this is the appropriate venue for what could be interpreted as marketing, so I'll end my comments here and send you a private email with some additional information shortly.
The fact that Brunswick is having this conversation clearly indicates the City has the right mindset, as many take grants for granted and never make it this far. Best of luck in your efforts.
CEO, American Funding Innovators, Inc.