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POINT OF VIEW: Basing contracts on race or gender is irrational

Re: The editorial, “County can ensure women, minorities fair cut of contracts,” (Jan. 22), in which The Palm Beach Post states that women- and minority-owned businesses should receive a “fair share of (Palm Beach County) contracts.”

Pardon me for my ignorance, but I was raised to believe that hard work and producing results made you competitive in the free-market system that defines our country’s economic model. Can someone on your Editorial Board, or anyone for that matter, articulate the rationale for attempting to create “equity” focusing on a firm’s race/gender as opposed to experience, performance, track record, qualifications, etc.? Does anyone with a rational mind think that a race- and gender-based allocation of contract awards is the answer to providing the taxpayers the best price and work product for their collective buck? I’m guessing when policymakers are hiring contractors to do work on their personal properties they’re not selecting the contractor based on race/gender but on the bidder’s ability to do the best job at the best price.

As someone who has sat on public-sector bid evaluation committees and now works in the private sector, and having been involved in the competitive bid process, I can tell you that (the county) already has a “transparent” and “equitable” procurement process.

In this case, it’s unfortunate the liberal mindset with respect to “fair share” seems intent on spending taxpayer dollars in a way that defies logic in the name of political correctness. I absolutely agree everyone should and must have an equal opportunity to compete for the opportunity to do work in our county, but the moment we award contracts based on race/gender over a company that’s more qualified is when you’ve abandoned your fiduciary responsibility to govern.

My hope is that we first acknowledge that the laws and ordinances that govern the county’s procurement process are written in a way that’s completely fair, and provide the greatest amount of transparency. Secondly, that you also acknowledge that you have procurement staff that’s dedicated to providing the taxpayers of this county the best bang for their buck,. regardless of race, gender or any other influences. To think otherwise is doing a disservice to our county procurement officials, and gives us taxpaying citizens a reason to ponder where our tax dollars are really going.


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