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Eric J. Van Schyndle quoted in article “Cases Expose Flaw in State Bidding Law”

The Daily Reporter

Following is an excerpt:

A series of disputes involving alleged bidding irregularities has representatives of the construction industry wondering if state laws might be due for a housecleaning.

Eric Van Schyndle, a construction industry lawyer at Milwaukee based law firm Quarles & Brady LLP, agreed that local governments are not cavalierly waiving bidding procedures. At the same time, he conceded that one reason for a lack of abuse might be that few officials even know they can sidestep the rules.

At a seminar on public contracting held in March, Van Schyndle said, he discussed the implications of the Powers Systems ruling with various local officials and found that most were unaware of the discretion the case had conferred on them. Still, were the decision better known, Van Schyndle said, he doubts bid requirements would be ignored cavalierly.

For one, he said, there is a serious question of whether judges, even with the Powers Systems precedent, would let a contract stand if lawyers could prove it had been awarded in a way that was not in the best interest of taxpayers. Also, Van Schyndle said, most officials recognize that, no matter what they are allowed to do, they would be foolish to not take contractors' interests into account.

Originally published in The Daily Reporter, September 12, 2014