My friend and colleague, Chris McCabe, recently published an opinion piece on Philly.com concerning the May 16 ballot question that asks Philadelphia voters to approve a change in the way Philadelphia awards public contracts.
Currently, Philadelphia, like all municipalities in Pennsylvania, uses an objective lowest responsible bidder standard in the award of public contracts. Under this approach, public contracts must be awarded to a bidder that responds to all of the criteria of the request for bids and offers the lowest price. Under this traditional approach the award of public contracts is completely transparent.
The May 16 ballot initiative seeks to change this. If approved, Philadelphia could award public contracts using a host of subjective factors. What those factors would be are unknown because the policies are not yet written.