Our Opinion: Reversal preserves integrity of process

Credit the Jefferson City Council for reversing an error and taking the proper course of action on a design contract.

Council members on Monday reconsidered a committee recommendation and approved a Columbia architect to design a replacement for Fire Station 3.

The action occurred after a council member reconsidered an amendment to substitute a Jefferson City architect for the Columbia firm.

The hiccup in the process suggests neither fault nor blame.

The council member who proposed the substitute — and those who supported his amendment — favored a local firm in the ongoing argument over whether local or out-of-town vendors are better qualified for government contracts.

The substitution, however, trumped a recommendation from a committee charged with conducting what government-speak calls a qualifications-based selection procurement process, or QBS process.

In a letter published in the Oct. 20 edition, the executive director of the Missouri Society of Professional Engineers wrote: “The design community supports QBS because it allows design firms to compete on qualification and experience.”

That support was echoed by the local firm named in the substitute amendment. The local firm said it appreciated the council’s vote of confidence, but deferred to the selection committee’s recommendation of the Columbia firm.

The episode marks a refreshing willingness among officials to reconsider their positions.

And, in the end — despite fits and starts — the integrity of the process was preserved.

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