Engaging in Fair and Equitable Practices with Vendors
Because of his long record of success and the enviable reputation in media and technology that he had earned for his school district, Henry had been given a free hand in the operation of his media center. In his effort to secure the best possible equipment, materials, and services for his school district, Henry had developed close working relationships with certain manufacturers and distributors. Over the years, he found that he could particularly depend on one company, AV Technology Associates, for prompt, efficient service. Consequently, he carried out a major portion of his business with them.
Because of these frequent interactions, he, his staff, and the personnel of AV Tech developed a rapport that resulted in not only a close professional relationship but also some warm personal friendships. As a result, each December during the holiday season, AV Tech hosted a reception and dinner at which time its staff and the staff of the media center could enjoy a pleasant evening together.
Recently, representatives of other educational technology vendors have approached Henry about considering some of their products. Consistently, Henry has turned them away with the comment that he is very satisfied with the equipment, materials, and services that he is currently receiving. As a result, murmurs of dissatisfaction and discrimination are beginning to be heard by the Grover City school administration and school board.
The AECT Code of Ethics—Section 2, Principle 5
While no one would deny that Henry Samuelson is acting with the best intentions and feels that he is doing what is best for his school district, equity and good judgment suggest the use of competitive bidding in cases of purchases and contracts, particularly when they involve significant amounts of money. Prudent practice requires that commercially produced equipment and materials be selected on the basis of such criteria as instructional value, cost, and durability. Some protection must be given against exploitation or an overriding monopoly by a special interest group or company.
While the annual dinner given by AV Tech for the media center employees is generally acceptable, it must be carefully demonstrated that no compensation from a vendor of instructional supplies and equipment affects recommendations for purchases.
Jefferson N. Eastmond, Sr.