Archive for Thursday, May 7, 1998


May 7, 1998


Bypassing the bidding process is a bad deal for county taxpayers.

Douglas County commissioners deserve the taxpayers' thanks for trying to find out whether $70,000 is the best deal the county can get on a software package for records management.

Register of Deeds Sue Neustifter didn't bother to find that out before she asked commissioners on Monday to purchase the software. She presented one bid from one vendor and announced that her desire to work with a company she had worked with for years was more important than going through the county's competitive bidding process.

Certainly, working with a familiar company can be easier. So is bypassing the bidding process. But it isn't good business or a responsible use of taxpayer money. Commissioners did the right thing by returning the issue to Neustifter and telling her to gather prices from four other companies whose software she said she had tested. It's impossible to know whether the single bidder is offering the best price or even the best product without looking into what other companies can offer. The county's purchasing decisions shouldn't be based solely on cost -- an inferior system isn't a bargain even if it's less expensive -- but examining bids from several vendors allows the county to make reasoned, economical decisions.

The $70,000 expenditure for software isn't the largest item in the county's budget, but most people would consider it a significant amount. The larger issue is the importance of following a bidding process that's designed to make the most of county -- that's taxpayer -- dollars.

Civil campaign

It probably won't be easy, but Republicans should do their best to meet the challenge of conducting a fair and respectful primary campaign.

In announcing his candidacy for the Republican nomination for governor Tuesday, David Miller of Eudora said he wanted to engage in ``a civil campaign'' with Gov. Bill Graves that doesn't include personal attacks.

Hopefully, Miller, Graves and any other candidates in the race will adhere to that standard and inspire their supporters to do the same.

The candidates' differences should be easy to discern in this race on the basis of their stands on issues. Character and personal conduct are important, but political sniping and character assassination don't usually add much to the political debate that should dominate campaigns.

A fair, respectful campaign that focuses on issues and the future of the state could benefit both the Kansas Republican Party and the state as a whole. Let's hope Republicans can fill that bill.

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