Let’s assume the city of Augusta and its commissioners want to do the right thing – a large assumption, but a good starting point.
The department handling contracts between the city and vendors certainly has a list of “unapproved vendors” – those whose bids are not accepted for various reasons, such poor performance in the past, lack of a bond or something along these lines. Why can’t this department be given the names of businesses in which a commissioner has part or full ownership and, when this firm submits a bid, it is politely rejected as being contrary to existing city ordinances?
This assumes the commissioners really want this to happen, and are not exerting undue influence to the contrary behind the scenes.
I wonder why Augusta Commissioner Grady Smith wanted to revise the city’s conflict-of-interest policy to allow commissioners and employees to bid on projects and do business with the city. His firm seemed to be doing quite well with the policy that’s in place now.