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Water consultant a leaky proposition

Does the Department of Public Works really not have the expertise to conduct its own internal study of our city's water and wastewater treatment plants? Is it really necessary to hire an outside consulting firm at the cost of $500,000? ("Baltimore panel recommends London company for controversial DPW efficiency contract," Dec. 4).

I attended the public hearing on December 1, and most community members there clearly did not want a private corporation offering advice on the management of our city's public water system, whether it be Veolia, PA Consulting or any other firm.

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If the Department of Public Works is hell bent on hiring an outside consultant, they had better read the contract's fine print. One of the reasons St. Louis rejected a consulting contract with Veolia was an intellectual property clause that made Veolia the sole owner of any ideas it might propose for improving the city's water system such that the city would have had to hire Veolia again if it wanted to implement any of those ideas. The DPW's Division of Contract Administration and the city's Board of Estimates must give the contract with PA Consulting careful scrutiny to ensure that it is not a Trojan Horse for gaining corporate control of Baltimore's public water system.

Rev. Roger Scott Powers, Baltimore

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The writer is pastor of Light Street Presbyterian Church.

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