Professional consultants can be helpful in the formation and operation of a district. Each professional service should be hired as needed. Using the proper procedure when hiring consultants can be essential to future funding of the district. In addition, hiring the right professional at the right time is a key part of successfully forming a district.
It is important to note that not every professional needs to be hired right away. For example, an accountant is not necessary in order to write the petition for formation of a district. A variety of professionals may be needed at some point in the process. The flow chart within this section helps to explain when it may be advisable to hire professional services. The steps within the section on petition requirements will also be helpful in planning this process. There are also associations who may assist you through this process at no charge.
Professional service providers may not attend every meeting unless required by the contract negotiated between the district and the provider. It is best to keep service providers informed of issues pertinent to their area of expertise and have them provide you with information you will need for your meetings.
Rules, Laws, and Regulations
There are differing levels of labor law regulations with regard to hiring. The following gives guidance that applies to the hiring of professional services.
If your district receives federal funds, the federal employment guidelines are available on the U.S. Department of Labor Web site. The "Employment Law Guide" is also available at this site, or you may order a copy of this guide by calling the U.S. Department of Labor at (866) 4USA-DOL.
Indiana has its own set of labor law policies. The best place to obtain information on Indiana's labor regulations is the Indiana State Department of Labor web site. Contact information is in the association list [XLS].
The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program has available a guide entitled "State of Indiana Grantee Implementation Manual." Every grant administrator is trained and receives a copy of this manual. The "Labor Standards" chapter [PDF] details the hiring process and information on how to hire properly. CDBG recipients must adhere to the requirements detailing both state and federal labor standards.
The CDBG program is administered through the Indiana Office of Community & Rural Affairs. They may also be contacted for copies of this section of their guide. Their contact information is in the association list.
Anyone hired to manage the district's money should be bonded and insured for liability. This bond is commonly referred to as a fidelity bond. A fidelity bond is typically made for the district's annual debt payment. Bonding protects the employer against damage by the person with whom they are contracting or employing. Your rate consultant, Certified Public Accountant (CPA), treasurer, and anyone else making financial decisions or handling district money should be bonded and insured.
Contract operators should also be insured.
Insurance is also needed for the plant, lift stations and any other property owned by the district once they are operational.