Procuring expertise: the case of local government water and sewer rate analyses
Journal of Public Procurement
Local governments are often forced to purchase expertise for non-recurring analyses, such as rate setting for water and sewer services, because it is not cost-effective for these governments to maintain such expertise in-house or because independent analyses are preferred by watch-dog agencies or mandated by state statutes. However, like many ostensibly value-neutral analytical studies, these studies inevitably entail policy choices of which elected policy makers may not be aware. External
... sts may not be aware of idiosyncratic factors, and they apply boilerplate perspectives that may not be responsive to local preferences. These perspectives limit policy options, although they may appear to be value-neutral. Policy makers must take an active role in these analytical studies in order to ensure that local preferences and specific factors are considered. Citizen committees comprised of residents with the necessary expertise, or experts from local colleges and universities may be able to provide the necessary oversight.