Low Bid or No Bid

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When Center for New York City Law researchers ranked the city’s 100 biggest contracts this year, they found a notable trend: an increase in contracts awarded through “negotiated acquisition”.

This process circumvents the usual scheme of competitive bidding. There is a much tighter relationship between contractor and city, and much of the process can actually be done in private, over the phone. Negotiated acquisition was originally set up to quickly award capital contracts in “emergency” situations.

But the city is using this low-competition method more and more, and expanding it to other kinds of contracts, like last year’s $75 million remodeling at Rikers Island. Social service contracts are also now being let this way–for example, the city’s new multimillion-dollar contracts for job assessment and job training were arranged through negotiated acquisition.