Most of us probably wouldn't know what to do with $87,000 if it fell in our laps. Some of us might take a trip or buy a car. Others might repay debts or pay tuition. Many would save a big chunk for a rainy day.
With that kind of money, you could buy a meal at a fast food restaurant for every student on this campus, round-trip tickets to Paris for you and 123 of your closest friends, or you could play the nickel slots in Las Vegas 1,740,000 times.
So, what would the educated administrators who run the University of Arizona do with $87,000? How would a university facing a $3.06 million budget cut this coming year put those funds to good use?
The UA showed us when it rejected a local construction company's bid to complete classroom space in the Marley Building. Instead, the university gave the contract to another company that bid $87,000 higher. And unless the UA comes to its senses and grants an appeal that would approve the lower bid, Manuel Pacheco might as well start a bonfire on the Mall and throw sacks of cash on it for all the taxpayers to see.
Since $87,000 is such a considerable amount of money, you would think the UA had a really important reason to reject the lower bid. The company must have done shoddy work in the past, or the contractor probably broke some kind of law or something, right? Nope. The bid was turned down because the company failed to complete four lines on the bidding form's list of subcontractors.
Here is the mark that should have been on each of those lines:
That's it - a ditto mark. The absence of four of these typographical symbols on an 8 1/2-by-11-inch sheet of paper is all that's stopping the taxpayers of the state of Arizona from saving $87,000. Talk about a bunch of bureaucratic bull.
But apparently, no one cares, because what would seem like a simple mistake the university would be eager to fix has already been tied up in the appeal process for over two months.
It seems the administrators with some control over this issue could care less about this waste of money. Maybe if the UA would make up for an $87,000 shortfall by eliminating one or two administrators, things would be different.