If elected officials are allowed to influence government contracting decisions it won’t end well for the public.
Imagine this: You are a mid-career government acquisition professional responsible for making an award decision on a contract worth over $400 million. As you evaluate the bids you also can’t help but see and hear the president of the United States openly advocate for one bidder. You’ve already heard, directly or through channels, that one or more U.S. senators are also pressing for this company to get the award. What are you going to do?
This is the heart of the controversy swirling around the recent award of a border wall contract to a North Dakota company for which the president and at least one senator publicly advocated. Was the award politically influenced? Is the company the best positioned to build this portion of the border wall along the southwest border? Since the company was deemed unqualified on more than one previous occasion, one has to wonder: Has the company taken significant steps forward in its capabilities to the point where it is now best suited to the requirements of the contract?
Of course we don’t know the answers to any of those questions. Neither does the president or the senator. And we may only get answers should another bidder protest the award and the questions are litigated. But that’s not actually the biggest concern this incident raises. The biggest concern is that we even have to have this discussion.
Keep reading this article at: https://www.govexec.com/management/2019/12/mixing-politics-and-procurement-creates-toxic-brew/161729/