Responsible Bidders Ordinance ... Why Is It Needed?

The public construction market has been the scene of an extraordinary amount of legal violations in recent years. Most recently, in Illinois the effects of balancing the State budget have resulted in cults to every level of government, creating a decline in the effectiveness of the offices charged with the enforcement of prevailing wages and other relevant laws This combined with a bearish economic climate create competitive pressures that push unscrupulous contractors to cheat in order to submit low bids. Since awarding authorities must award projects to the lowest bidder, those who are willing to cheat, gain an enormous cost advantage, and have the effect of driving legitimate contractors out of the market.

Many people have been hurt by the destruction of standards in the public construction market. Workers have been cheated out of wages, communities have been cheated out of revenue, taxpayers have been subsidizing illegal activities, and the integrity of public officials have been brought into question after awarding contracts to dishonorable contractors who deliver poor quality products over budget and behind schedule.

While enforcement efforts may be bolstered by pending legislation, budgetary restraints will always continue to factor, so with limited resources and personnel these types of violations will most likely be a concern for years to come. What the 'Responsible Bidders Ordinance' does is address these issues up front as opposed to chasing the cheaters after the violations have occured.

Is It A Pro-Union Law?

The word 'union' does not appear in any Responsible Bidder Ordinance. The Ordinance simply attempts to create a level playing field for all contractors, union and non-union alike, so that the lowest bids reflect managerial expertise rather than the willingness to subvert the laws of the State. Like the prevailing wage law which was enacted in 1941 in Illinois, the Ordinance is neutral with respect to the union issue. It simply further defines the phrase 'responsible bidder' as it relates to the term 'lowest responsible bidder' that is referenced in the Illinois Municipal Code (65 ILCS 518-9-1) and been incorporated into the majority of procurement regulations around the state.

It does not give an advantage to union contractors; it gives an advantage to responsible contractors. The Ordinance simply asks that contractors who wish to benefit from public dollars play by the rules of fair and honest contracting.

Need More Information?

Contact Tom White to get started

  • Phone: (815) 405-8221
  • Fax: (815) 230-1376
  • Email:

    Main Page
    Why Is It Needed?
    What Is The Significance?
    What Is The Cost?
    Local Area Ordinances
    Other Illinois Ordinances
    Letters Of Endorsement
    RBO News Page

    Thomas A. White
    Three Rivers Construction Alliance | 233 Springfield Ave. | Joliet, IL 60435 | Phone: (877) 740-TRCA (8722) | Fax: (815) 230-1376