Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)


Public Administration

Advisor 1

Dr. William Thompson, Examination Committee Chair, Professor of Public Administration, University of Nevada Las Vegas

Number of Pages



The Nevada procurement laws for public agencies generally require open, competitive bidding for any item that exceeds $10,000. Public agencies are also required to accept the lowest "responsive" and "responsible" bid. A "responsive bid is one which has addressed all the requirements of the bid documents. All forms must be properly completed and signed. A "responsible" bid is one in which the bidder proves the ability to perform the contract and has the resources to fulfill all the requirements of the contract. If a bidder fails to comply with all of the requirements in the contract documents, then the agency can disallow the bid.

This procedure is generally quite adequate for many routine and common commodities such as roads, buildings, pipelines, etc. The products and the raw materials used to construct these objects are very common, readily available and many businesses can provide the services to implement the desired result in a consistent manner. However, as more specialized products and/or services are required by public agencies, the task to procure and implement the intended results becomes more difficult. The materials and/or the labor expertise required for such products may be very scarce or quite unique.

Fewer businesses are able to provide these unique products and services, and also compete in a highly specialized or technical market. Businesses may have different means and methods to reach the same end goal. Thus, the final solution could vary greatly depending on the business involved.

This can be particularly true with highly technical items, such as computer hardware and software used in very specialized and technical applications such as computer based process control systems.

How do public agencies procure control systems today? Is the current procurement method adequate in providing these specialized products and services through an open competitive market. Is there a better way? Are there alternatives to competitive bidding? This case study will examine three Nevada public agencies that used an alternative approach and found success in its application. It will explain computer systems in general and control systems specifically. It will finally offer a rationale for seeking alternatives to open competitive bidding.

Although a general conclusion can not be reached, public agencies could benefit from the use of the software exemption clause in the Nevada bidding laws.


Computer software purchasing; Computers purchasing; Government purchasing law and legislation; Letting of contracts; Nevada; Public contracts


Government Contracts | Public Administration | Public Affairs | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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