A Question of Ethics
I could not find any actual laws or rules issues here, but does it bother anyone else that it is increasingly common for big engineering contracts to have lawyers, lobbyists, etc. get involved in what is intended to be a qualifications based selection process? I find little that specifically addresses the issue beyond some inference in older ASCE canons. In Florida, the intent of the statutory selection process might be is that governmental agencies “shall negotiate a contract with the most qualified firm for professional services at compensation which the agency determines is fair, competitive, and reasonable.” But wouldn’t employing lobbyists and lawyers frustrate this process ?. And it is not like Florida hasn’t had several elected official go to jail and/or be indicted over such issues. So as the public becomes more aware of these activities, does it create a more negative perception of engineers? And is this good for either the engineering profession or the local governments (and their utilities) involved in the selection process? The comment that “that’s how business get done” is not an acceptable argument when the priority purpose of engineers, and utility operators is the protection of the HEALTH, SAFETY AND WELFARE OF THE PUBLIC. The concept of qualifications-based selection processes enacted for public agencies is that getting the professional who has the best set of qualifications usually means fewer issues arise since they have designed similar projects before and know the pitfalls. Someone who has not, likely will not, which can add unexpected costs to a job. Just a thought, but maybe it is time to think about this seriously.