Although price is important and is sometimes determinative, price is not the only factor the government generally considers in making an award. The government is also entitled to consider “responsibility.”
”Responsibility” involves evaluating the bidder’s experience, skill, facilities, integrity, prior performance and other factors affecting the bidder’s ability to successfully perform the proposed contract at the specified price within any applicable deadlines. Some discretion is inherent in determining the responsibility of each bidder. But, that discretion is not without limit. “‘In exercising the power to reject any or all bids, and proceeding anew with the awarding of the contract, the officers cannot act arbitrarily or capriciously, but must observe good faith and accord to all bidders just consideration, thus avoiding favoritism, abuse of discretion, or corruption. Although the courts generally will not disturb an honest exercise of discretion, it has been said that they will intervene to prevent the arbitrary rejection of a bid when its effect is to defeat the object to be attained by competition.’” Brown v. City of Phoenix 77 Ariz. 368, 373, 272 P.2d 358, 362 (Ariz.1954) quoting McQuillin, Municipal Corporations, Vol. 10, Sec. 29.77.
But, Arizona does have a statute that actually permits the State to enter a contract with the higher bidder. See our article on lawful preferences.