As business ofﬁcer of a school district, Charles Bidright is required to sign off on all purchase orders over $1,000.
Under state law and district policy all orders over $5,000 must be put out for bid. Government agencies are required to accept the low bid unless there are speciﬁc and compelling reasons not to.
Bidright recently received ﬁve purchase orders totaling $20,000 for computer components. Each was for under $5,000. All had been approved by the district superintendent. It was clear to Bidright, however, that the components were part of a single system and therefore should have been combined into a single purchase order and put out for bid.
Bidright contacted the superintendent and explained to him the state law and district policy. The superintendent indicated that he understood the policy but that in this instance he wanted to purchase the equipment from a particular merchant because he knew from past experience that the beneﬁts of the high quality of service provided by this merchant far outweighed any additional merchandise cost that the district was likely to incur. Bidright had no doubt that the superintendent’s explanation was legitimate and that the superintendent had no business or personal relationship with the merchant from whom he wanted to purchase the equipment. At the same time, the district superintendent’s reason for rejecting the low bid would not have met the legal criteria for so doing.