Procuring expertise: the case of local government water and sewer rate analyses

DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/JOPP-03-02-2003-B005
Publication Date01 March 2003
Date01 March 2003
Pages250-273
AuthorGerasimos A. Gianakis,XiaoHu Wang
SubjectPublic policy & environmental management,Politics,Public adminstration & management,Government,Economics,Public Finance/economics,Texation/public revenue
JOURNAL OF PUBLIC PROCUREMENT, VOLUME 3, ISSUE 2, 250-273 2003
PROCURING EXPERTISE: THE CASE OF LOCAL
GOVERNMENT WATER AND SEWER RATE ANALYSES
Gerasimos A. Gianakis and XiaoHu Wang*
ABSTRACT. 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 analysts 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.
INTRODUCTION
Local governments, like most organizations, must often turn to
markets to secure the technical, analytical, and substantive expertise
demanded by particular projects that are undertaken only periodically.
The idea is that it is more economically efficient to purchase such
expertise only when it is needed, rather than maintain it within the
organization where it may go untapped for extended periods. This is
often the case with management consulting, software engineering, or
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* Gerasimos A. Gianakis, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Public Management,
Sawyer School of Management, Suffolk University. His research interests center
on budgeting and financial management, as well as policing, warehousing, and
forecasting. XiaoHu Wang, Ph.D., is Associate Professor, Department of Public
Administration, University of Central Florida. His research focuses on
performance management and financial management.
Copyright © 2003 by PrAcademics Press

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