Texas Watchdog investigates adventures in no-bid contracting, METRO-style

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Recently, we’ve seen Mayor Bill White skirt the city’s contracting rules to put the artist now known as The One* in place to clean up a BARC mess that had not previously been a priority and that threatened to be a drag on Senate Candidate Bill White’s campaign.

That’s nothing, however, compared to METRO’s use of no-bid contracts for consultants under Frank “Procurement Disaster” Wilson.

Texas Watchdog has the details in this story today.

METRO contends that the use of such consultants can actually save the taxpayers money, and gives the organization flexibility.

We’re open to the argument that one-off consulting can sometimes be more efficient, but we also think public organizations should operate with much greater transparency than this.

When deals are ramrodded through by high-ranking public officials with no public debate or scrutiny — especially when those deals involve former colleagues of the officials or even self-promoters who are known as The One* — what is the public supposed to think? Indeed, how is the public even to know, in an age of shrinking newsrooms?

That’s why public organizations should make the case with the public well in advance of any such deals (and in our view, should try to keep them rare).

* We are referring to BARC “change agent” Gerry Fusco, who has referred to himself as “The One” in public interviews.

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Kevin Whited is co-founder and publisher of blogHOUSTON. Follow him on twitter: @PubliusTX