Equipment sharing is not new. It is a practice that is as old as government itself. However in today's litigious society, it's critical to have an agreement. I reviewed some of the most popular existing agreements around the country and here are 5 tips I'd like to share with you.
1. Keep it short & sweet
The shorter the agreement, the easier it will be to get it through your legal staff. The easier it is to get other public agencies on board. A great example of this is the MORE-IGA agreement spearheaded by Don Newell in Oregon which is 2 pages long -- that's it.
2. Use language that a 5th grader can understand
Simple is beautiful. Easy-to-grasp language can lead to faster approval by your legal staff as well. There is a common misconception around contracts that they need to use legalese in order to hold in a court of law. This is simply not true. As long as the language is unequivocally describing the clause of the contract, don't overcomplicate things. E.g. Google's Terms of Service written in simple language: http://goo.gl/L3cSkk (you'd be glad you read this!)
3. Make it a many-to-many agreement
Don't make a two-way agreement with your neighbor. Make it a multi-agency agreement. Using language like 'This Agreement is made between the SIGNED PARTIES' means that you can continue expanding the number of jurisdictions that can sign on to your agreement. You can still use it as an agreement with your neighboring community, but you are now keeping your options open. If another public agency wants to participate, all they have to do is sign that same agreement. No new agreement required!
4. Don't include unnecessary constraints
This may sound like a legal aberration. But the truth is, the more flexible your agreement is the more versatile it will be. Don't narrow it down to the specific type of equipment you will use, or the services you will provide. There's no advantage in doing that and you are cornering yourself in case you want to share services you didn't consider when writing the agreement.
5. Don't reinvent the wheel
Use existing templates. There are many shared services agreement out there that would work very well for your agency. Here are some examples.
Let MuniRent help you set up an intergovernmental agreement free of charge! firstname.lastname@example.org | 248-953-3496
About Alan and MuniRent
Alan has always been passionate about the sharing economy. From Superhost on Airbnb to co-founding MuniRent, he's always been excited to foster more collaboration between people and now governments.
Schedule a MuniRent demo and see why 25 public agencies are already on board. MuniRent is the only web-based reservation tool for heavy equipment that is specifically designed for crews. Increase fleet utilization inside your organization with a proven and simple solution.
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