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Re: Bidding ethics

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What dictates the low bid being government practice?

It's my understanding government in America did not have to take the low bid 
until the great graft case associated with the building of the Brooklyn 
Bridge in New York City.  After the enormous corruption there at City Hall,  
government imposed low bids as the standard of practice with overwhelming 

Prior to this,  craftsmanship and reputation and quality and good prices were 
relevant factors.  Now,  it's low price and the ability to hold a legitimate 
contractor's license and obtain a bidder's bond.

California general law cities are obligated to:
a) bid as public works any project more than $5000
b) take the lowest responsible bidder
c) lowest responsible bidder must have contractor's license
d) lowest responsible bidder must have 10% bidders bond or equivalent security
e) lowest responsible bidder must have listed all subcontractors more than 
1/2% in their bid proposal.  Subs cannot be substituted after bid opening 
without agency approval and then only for seven reasons listed in the Public 
Contract Code.
f) lowest responsible bidder must have submited sealed bids within the 
deadline imposed
g) lowest responsible bidder must get  insurance, 100% performance bond and 
50% payment bond for execution of contract.  low bidder further by submission 
of bid must state they will pay prevailing labor wages in the local 
California county (usually union scale), submit weekly certified labor 
payrolls from each sub to "prove" prevailing wages were made, certifiy 
affirmative action was taken in soliciting subs and hiring practices,  state 
non-collusion of price fixing, etc.  

All of this flows from the lack of ethics on the politicians in New York City 
on the building of the Brooklyn Bridge.  The Engineer on the bridge was 
exonerated and his good design saved the project despite the tricky cables 
sold and build into the project by the politicans.

/s/ Ron Fong
having fun? in Fremont California

In a message dated 4/12/2000 1:20:38 PM Pacific Daylight Time, 
wlpolhemus(--nospam--at) writes:

> Note, though, that this had to be resolved in the courts.
>  The problem with public works is that it's susceptible to the political
>  process.
>  Ever see a public entitity construction contract? Fully half of it is
>  boilerplate reflecting the political nature of such work: Affirmative 
>  declarations, "made in USA" provisions, child support declarations, on and
>  on and on.
>  Likewise, the notion that you are low bidder but didn't get the work can
>  lead to your complaints to your friendly neighborhood government official
>  who, in due consideration of your generous contribution to his campaign
>  war-chest, is obliged to go to bat for you.
>  To some degree there are positives. Government entities are obliged in most
>  cases to select engineers and architects on the basis of qualifications
>  rather than price, for example, an anti-free market approach that is
>  supposed to keep quality standards high--an outcome that is debatable, 
>  the mandatory nature of it.
>  -----Original Message-----
>  From: Mark Gilligan [mailto:MarkKGilligan(--nospam--at)]
>  Sent: Wednesday, April 12, 2000 9:49 AM
>  To: INTERNET:seaint(--nospam--at)
>  Subject: RE: Bidding ethics
>  It was stated that:
>  >Unless your client is a government entity, he/she is not required to
>  accept 
>  the "lowest responsible bid," and can, in fact, accept the high bid if that
>  is what they want.<
>  An article in the March 2000 edition of Civil Engineering noted that
>  "According to the missouri Court of Appeals, a city had the discretion to
>  award a project contract to the second-lowest bidder."
>  Apparentlythere are some situations where the lowest bidder need not be
>  selected on public works projects.
>  Does anybody know the specific provision in the California laws or
>  regulations that requires public works projects to be selected based on
>  lowest price?
>  Mark Gilligan