The government official has a legal as well as an ethical responsibility to put the interests of the public first, as a public servant. To fail to do so will result in greater cost to the taxpayer, and perhaps even an inferior product. This type of waste takes money away from other, more worthy public projects as well, including aid to the poor.
Government contracting officers have unique responsibilities and special, additional privileges as a result of their duties: “Of all government personnel, only a Contracting Officer has the authority to enter the government into a binding contract. He or she will be the one to sign the final contract agreement, and only a Contracting Officer has the power to change the terms of the contract” (Government contracting personnel: Understanding roles played, 2011, ONVIA). The contracting officer is thus acting on behalf of the entire government, and has unique powers invested in him or her for his or her work. With added responsibilities come added ethical obligations.
The government has begun to take the contracting procedure seriously in a meaningful fashion. FAR regulations require that all contracting companies involved in federal contracts in excess of $5 million have written ethics and an internal system to enforce the rules (Business ethics in government contracts 2011, ONVIA). Even government contractors must be well-versed in the internal procedures of the company with whom they are negotiating, to avoid violating either company regulations as well as federal regulations when conducting transactions.
Business ethics in government contracts. (2011). ONVIA. Retrieved
February 17, 2011 at http://www.onvia.com/b2g-resources/article/business-ethics-in-government-contracts
Government contracting personnel: Understanding roles played. (2011). ONVIA. Retrieved
February 17, 2011 at http://www.onvia.com/b2g-resources/article/government-contracting-personnel.