No-Bid Contracts:

Goodness, how can this be?

The Defense Department frequently awards no-bid work to small contractors for repairs at military bases under the new economic stimulus law, costing taxpayers millions of dollars more than when businesses compete for the work, according to an Associated Press analysis of 570 such contracts.
Under President Obama's stimulus bill? Not the President Obama who said:
The days of giving government contractors a blank check are over.
And yet his own stimulus plan is supporting such things? Unbelievable.

Oh, and also:
Administration Bridles at Bar on Contractors. “The Obama administration has objected to a provision in the 2010 defense funding bill currently before the Senate that would bar the military’s use of contractors to interrogate detainees.”

So much for all that fierce moral urgency of change.
The truth is that no-bid contracts are used mostly where the government is familiar with the service being rendered, and is happy with the way it is being performed. They aren't 'blank checks,' but rather, occasions where past good service is something the government wishes to see continued. They're prepared to pay extra rather than risk an interruption of that service, as would certainly be caused by swapping providers. It's like having a dentist you trust, who raises his rates: if you trust him and like how he has taken care of you, if you can afford it, you might well choose to stay with that dentist you trust rather than swap to a cheaper one. After all, the lowest bidder may have reasons for being able to work so cheaply that you will regret once you're under their drill!

Having seen several "no bid" contracts replaced by bidded contracts in the past, I've never yet seen an occasion where the bidding process didn't result in inferior service rendered. That need not always be the case, but it's no wonder that the "no bid" process is preferred by DOD in many cases.

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