When government bypasses the advertising of bids they harm and cheat the public, create an exclusive club of businesses, and increase the operational costs for we the people. Bypassing the advertising of bids is the essence of public corruption and is more pervasive than the public is aware of.
While government would have you believe bid law and rules are too complex for the public to understand, it is not complicated. Bid laws are best described as laws and rules that govern the spending processes or purchases made with public tax dollars and resources.
The primary purpose of bid law is to ensure purchases made by government with public tax dollars are the best quality and most competitive price possible, and that all businesses are afforded the opportunity to compete for government work or contracts.
The role of government, local, state, or federal, is simply to define what goods or services they wish to purchase, and to produce a written and detailed description of the items or scope of work to be accomplished. The second obligation of government is to advertise, let me repeat advertise, the government’s desire to purchase the goods or contract for services, so the taxpayers receive the most competitive price possible.
If a government contract opportunity is not advertised, it is indeed an exclusive deal, and that is always bad for the taxpayers. There are several exemptions for a government to bypass advertising of purchases of goods and services by declaring the purchase as as one source vendor, meaning there are no other vendors in the state that can perform the scope of work or provide the goods, or change orders for new work that are attached to old contracts. These are chronically abused by government, and result in non-competitive contracting and higher costs to the taxpayer.
Mr. Ellis Smith of the Times Free Press illustrated a case in today’s newspaper about the adverse impact of failure to advertise government contract opportunities. He did an amazing job of investigative reporting. In the case presented by Mr. Smith, the federal General Services Agency intentionally bypassed the advertising of their need for rental space to house local federal employees. Mr. Smith’s piece captures the essence of the horrible impact of bypassing the advertisement of bids, and reported that the offices to house federal employees at Warehouse Row were $14 per square foot for 14,780 rentable square feet, or $206,915 per year. Then, the Federal General Services Agency (GSA) bypassed competitive bidding and the new rental space is $29.32 per square foot for 22,311 or $654,263 per year.
In this case, local property owners and real estate companies were not afforded the opportunity to compete for the 10-year contract, because the contract opportunity was not made known through advertisement. This is a huge contract with public money, and local businesses should have been afforded the opportunity to compete. The proximity and parking excuses presented by the Federal GSA are extraordinarily weak, because there are other buildings in close proximity to the court house. This contract opportunity should have been advertised.
If the contract opportunities are not advertised how does business compete, and how do the taxpayers get the most competitive price? Deals in the dark never benefit the public.