City smart to recommit to competitive bidding

citycouncilThere was a compelling argument for the private no-bid contract for the construction of the city-owned Hyatt Regency hotel in the mid-’90s, when downtown revitalization was in its uncertain infancy. But that process should not have become the rule, and later proved costly. That is why the Wichita City Council should make permanent its 2-year-old requirement of competitive bidding for any free-standing construction work completely financed by the city. The resolution on Tuesday’s agenda still allows some no-bid contracting for public-private projects, which is a concern. But the policy’s safeguards should serve accountability, as the city strengthens its commitment to competitive bidding and its public benefits.