When our area government entities accept bids on projects, they have a responsibility to make sure taxpayers are getting a good deal. They also should give every opportunity to local businesses, especially when bids are close, or there are other extenuating circumstances.
We have to agree with Fairmont Area School Board members Joe Kurtzman and Dan Brookens, who this week objected to their colleagues' decision to choose Lifetouch of Eden Prairie as the school photographer over Roger Carlson of Fairmont.
The district did a poor job of communicating with Carlson about his perceived past shortcomings. And it's not really clear any shortcomings existed.
In addition, Carlson's bid was comparable to that of Lifetouch. We suspect many local parents, who will actually pay for the photos of their school children, would have preferred to see a local business get the bid. The school, i.e. taxpayers, is not on the hook either way. There was a significant difference in price for the deluxe package of photos and a CD, with Lifetouch coming in $16 lower. But it's conceivable that Carlson would have adjusted his price on this package, given the chance.
In all likelihood, Fairmont Area Schools will go out for a referendum this fall. Using its purchasing power within the community certainly will go a long way in creating good will. It definitely will create more good will than sending business out of town.