BUFFALO, N.Y. -- When it comes to the process for bidding on projects like Solar City, a state assemblyman and Buffalo developer say it's a sound system.
"If you follow state law, there's no problem with the bidding process," said Carl Paladino, Ellicott Development chairman. "Qualified bidders have the opportunity to compete. That's not what happened here."
"In this case, it's alleged that the contractors were at the tables with their pencils out, writing a request for proposals that only suited their companies," assemblyman Sean Ryan said. "That's a perversion of the bidding process."
SUNY Buffalo State Economics and Finance Dept. Chair Fred Floss says in alleged cases like this, contracts aren't going to the lowest bidder. He says this may be an opportunity to review the current process.
"What we really want to have happen is a bidding practice that allows us to get the lowest bidder or does some other social purposes," Floss said.
Floss says that can include awarding contracts to women and minority-owned companies.
He says a revised system could also require contractors to hire local workers.
"A lot of contractors bring workers in from outside of New York State, so the benefits of our state tax dollars don't stay in New York," Floss said. "If we hired people from New York State, then they would spend money in New York State, they'd raise their families here, and we'd get a bigger bang for our tax buck."
Floss says it's early to say if that change could actually happen, but he says these charges represent a turning point for the state.