By: By Wayne Allen
August 31, 2013
PDT Staff Writer
The Scioto County Commissioners asked the legal opinion of Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Danielle Parker if they could refuse the bid of a contractor who has been non-compliant with prior awarded county contracts.
In a written response, Parker stated, “it is well settled in Ohio that a statutory provision directing that a contract be let to the ‘lowest and best bidder’ vests public board and officials such as this board (commissioners) with wide discretion as to which bid should be accepted.”
In her response Parker cited Hudson v. Board of Education.
“The court held that a board possesses the right to consider the quality of work previously done by a bidder on the other contracts performed for the same board. The court found that the statutes vest in the awarding authority the discretionary power to pass upon the honesty, skill and competency of the bidders. The board has the right to consider the quality of work previously done including evidence that the bidder’s past performance was less than adequate,” Parker wrote. “Other courts have held that the ‘lowest responsible bidder’ means not only the bidder whose peculiarly ability to perform the contract is best, but one in point of skill, ability and integrity who is most likely to do faithful, conscientious work and fulfill the contract promptly according to the letter and spirit.”
Parker said that based on what she had written, she is of the opinion that, “In evaluating what constitutes the ‘lowest and best bid,’ for a contract this board may consider the quality of the past performance of the bidders, and refuse a bid based upon the bidders past practice.”
Mike Crabtree, Chairman of the Scioto County Commissioners there was no paticular contractor in mind when they made the request for the opinion.
“We have the authority to accept the best most responsible bid. We have the authority to throw a bid out if we think someone is just jerking us around. I don’t think we would have to do anything like that but, you just don’t know,” Crabtree said. “We are just trying to act responsibly as the commissioners of Scioto County.”
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.