Pennsylvania Chapter of ABC Files

Wed November 16, 2005 - Northeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

The Pennsylvania Chapters of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC PA) has filed a complaint in Commonwealth Court to stop the Pennsylvania Department of General Services (DGS) from moving forward with a new controversial plan, known as “Best Value,” which could lead to the awarding of billions of dollars in construction contracts behind close doors.

“We have met with DGS to express our concerns about the secretive and subjective characteristics of Best Value and have yet to see any progress,” said Hank Butler, director of government affairs for ABC PA.

“Pay to play and political kickbacks have become all too familiar terms to taxpayers. ABC PA has exhausted all efforts to work with the administration and had no other alternative, but to challenge this effort through the legal process. When billions of state taxpayer dollars are at stake, our public officials must do everything in their power to create a system that shines an open and strong light on the process.”

In the past, DGS has awarded construction projects to private contractors through an open, public, and competitive bidding process. It ensures DGS gets the best prices for construction projects in a completely open process.

Not only would Best Value allow the state to actually select more expensive bids, but a subjective five-person panel would pick the winners. The public would have no right or opportunity to observe a process that determines how potentially billions of taxpayer dollars are spent, according to ABC PA.

“In an age where the public distrusts government more than ever, Best Value will only further erode that relationship,” Butler said. “There will be no proof that contracts are awarded fairly because the public will be shut out of the process entirely. We need to consider calling Best Value what it will eventually become — Best Buddy.”

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