Letters to the Editor

Not up to the task

In support of public-private partnership legislation that includes local governments, the recent commentary by Kentucky League of Cities’ Jonathan Steiner and Roddy Harrison lists attributes they think local governments and communities have to successfully implement this legislation.

The legislation calls for an alternative method of procurement for local governments, defining terms and establishing procedures.

Implementation will require complex procurement activities beyond existing tasks now performed by local governments.

Local governments throughout the state do not have the necessary administrative structure, including experienced procurement professionals and other required professional technical staff, to perform complex procurement processes and comply with implementing regulations and procedures.

P3 efforts are popular because governments cannot provide the services they have in the past, mainly because of lack of revenue. The private sector is supportive because it presents business opportunity.

At issue for governments will be the never-ending number of private sector proposals and determining which can be justified. Political and special interest influence will become part of the decision-making process to which local governments are most vulnerable.

While local governments want more authority, the focus should be on their capabilities to administer this authority. Historically, many of these governments have had difficulty doing normal basic tasks without scandal.

– Danny Shearer

Retired state government procurement official