The Jefferson City Council approved Monday night a motion that calls for proposals for a facilitator to oversee the final decision on the new conference center.
The facilitator would have to attend meetings, advise council members and assist in all aspects of the selection of the site's final contractor.
The facilitator will be selected based on a set of criteria, including ability to offer expert advice, experience in large project development and ability to project long-term economic impact of the project.
Council member J. Rick Mihalevich said it would be in the city's best interest to hire a professional to advise on the process to make sure the city makes the right decision.
"Economic impact, the ability for this to attract the kind of business that we expect for it to pay for itself. Those kinds of things are what they're going to be providing their investors, and we've got to evaluate it so we know which of those is the best proposal," Mihalevich said.
Any candidate that has a direct or pending relationship with any of the final three contractors will be disqualified because of conflict of interest.
The money to hire the facilitator will come from the city's lodging tax.