As part of a three-year effort to elevate the average American's sometimes cynical perception of government, the National Institute of Government Procurement is accepting comments on cooperative purchasing through June 30, 2011.

Your input will be used to develop the Values and Guiding Principles of Public Procurement, a set of 36 standards of practice that legitimize widely accepted but informal practices and procedures. Launched in July 2010, the initiative is part of the institute's ongoing efforts to establish city, county, and state procurement as a profession. When finalized, certifying bodies such as the Universal Public Procurement Certification Council and Institute for Supply Management will be able to evaluate candidates according to a set of formal, industrywide standards.

The City of Tucson, Ariz. and Virginia's Loudoun County have adopted the principles, which were guided by more than 200 responses over a two-month comment period. They're also supported by organizations such as the National League of Cities and National Association of Counties, the International City/County Association, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and National Contract Management Association.