Case #1: Ensure one’s personal relationships do not interfere with objective judgment in UAB decisions.

A school administrator asked James to take part in evaluating and selecting a supplier for new computer equipment for the school.  James agreed to do so.  In advance of the first committee meeting, James received a packet of information containing bids provided from a number of companies.  Included was a company for whom his good friend, Charles, was the sales manager. 

What should James do?

  1. Review all bids, and recommend the least expensive supplier, even if that is Charles’ company.
  2. Immediately notify the school administrator and disclose his personal relationship with Charles.
  3. Review all bids other than the one from Charles’ company and make a recommendation based on the merits of the proposals.

B.  James’ relationship to one of the bidders through Charles creates a perceived – if not actual – conflict between UAB’s interests and his private interests.  UAB community members have an obligation to be objective and impartial in making decisions on behalf of UAB.  The best course of action is for James to disclose his relationship with Charles to the school administrator and the selection committee.  This provides a level of transparency that a relationship exists that might be perceived to influence the decision.