Another screwy bid

The recommendation from city purchasing on this Sun Metro bid doesn’t make any sense at all.

Purchasing declared “RJ Border International, LP DBA Border International, as the lowest responsive, responsible bidder.”

Looking at the backup documentation we can see that the city compared bids from three companies for these five items:



The chart shows that for four of the items all three bidders came at about the same price with one bidder being the lowest on all four items.   The low bidder was not the one the city chose.

The fifth item shows something wrong.  Our formerly low bidder offered a price of $435.43 and the other two bidders offered $91.18 and $85.81.

The city used an old purchasing trick and added up the prices of each of the five items for each vendor.  The problem with that technique is that the city might buy different quantities of each item and treating each line item equally does not make economic sense.

Then again, bidders two and three might be aware that the city would not buy any of the fifth item and could safely bid a ridiculously low price.

The result is that the highest bidder will get the business in this case.

It is possible that bidder number one messed up.  That leaves bidder number three who got disqualified because they did not submit “the referenced price list”.

These things can happen but they seem to be happening often with our purchasing department.

We deserve better


4 Responses to Another screwy bid

  1. Jerry K says:

    Typically it is not purchasing that rates and selects bids. That is being done by the department soliciting the bids. Purchasing manages the process and is the “window” for the bidders but not usually the decision maker that requires specific technical expertise.

    I bought lots of equipment while running BTOP and we made our own decisions but purchasing issued the RFPS and solicited bids from vendors.


    • Brutus says:

      Yes, but purchasing should see to it that the process is both fair and legal.



      • Jerry K says:

        Generally they did so but are not in a position to question the technical decisions (i.e., rating the bids) of the departments. Also, not every RFP requires the low bidder to win. There are factors of the vendor’s ability to perform, certain brands or functionality have to be bid, etc. I don’t envy Purchasing’s job at all.


      • Dax B says:

        You were right there was something wrong on the 5th item but it was the vendor you made the error. I talked to a friend who sells auto parts and was told the list price entered was incorrect. As far as the award going to someone who was not the low bidder state law allows for that.


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