Two years ago, when my town was mulling a moratorium to suspend its rampant development, one outspoken resident (no, for once it was not me) urged that the job of drafting building and regulatory guidelines be put out to bid, in lieu of assigning it to a consulting firm that had been on retainer to the town for over 20 years.Incredibly, our supervisor said that in order to do that, the town, under some antiquated bylaw, would have had to publicly disclose why it was soliciting proposals. To me, that mandate didn't seem such a terrible ordeal, and it would lend a fresh coat of paint, so to speak, to a business relationship that, in my opinion, bordered on cronyism.

To abbreviate the story, the consulting firm, in its report, made a number of egregious errors when calculating the effect of overdevelopment on school and property taxes, subsequently sparking threats of litigation from developers and construction lobbyists.

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