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Mr. Ethics - July 2017

Posted By Mr. Ethics, Monday, July 10, 2017

Dear Mr. Ethics,


We recently submitted a bid for the construction of a new bridge.  In accord with the bid documents all bids were to be evaluated on a point system.  The public owner was to evaluate each bid according to its conformance with plans and specifications.  Another team was going to assess the aesthetic aspects of the proposed bid design.   At the bid opening we were advised that was decided to combine the evaluation teams.  Not only is this a change in the bid process but it may also disadvantage one or more bidders in the way the points are calculated.  I think the owner’s actions are unethical and may also be illegal.  Should I seek legal action or advise the owner that its action is unethical?


Sincerely, Undecided


Dear Undecided,


Only you and your counsel can determine whether to take legal action.  However, ethical actions can have legal implications.  There is no reason you cannot pursue legal and ethical actions at the same time if reason exists for doing each.  Changing bid procedures is definitely unethical and may be a violation of public bidding laws.  At the very least you should lodge a complaint with the owner and consult counsel regarding your legal rights. 


Sincerely, Mr. Ethics.    

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