Fake objectivity in rigged competitive bids – an unfounded complaint by disappointed firms

Ron Pol dislikes competitive bids. A diatribe against them in the ACC Docket, Vol. 27, March 2009 at 22, piles on 15 practices he claims take place and undermine the process’ benefits. One point reported “relatively often,” is that the losing firm never had a chance, because a favored firm had the inside position. Pol’s Point 9 has shades of Calvinism: “Pre-determination:”

“Firms report learning relatively often that a preferred firm has in effect already been selected; this makes a mockery of the process, and the organization conducting it.” All I can say, as I have before, is that a rigged RFP would be a waste of everyone’s time. More than that, however, I have not seen one during the two dozen competitive bids by law departments I have consulted on (See my post of Sept. 3, 2006: double entendre of fixed-price competitions; Oct. 29, 2006: unfounded belief that RFP processes are wired; Feb. 15, 2006: the incumbent’s advantage did not work out in two bids; Jan. 27, 2006 about how the endowment effect may help incumbent firms; Jan. 27, 2008: how to tell losing firms why they weren’t selected; Oct. 10, 2008: ten reasons to mistrust competitive bids.). Incumbent firms probably have an advantage, but that doesn’t stifle the competition and render it a charade.

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