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ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT elements in the relationship between public officials and those whom they serve is trust. Private citizens must have sufficient confidence in government employees to allow them to allocate resources on their behalf. Perhaps the most substantial form of trust bestowed upon civic representatives is the expenditure of public funds. Tax dollars generated from levies on income, real estate transactions, or sales of various goods and services allow our government to obligate these fiscal resources in areas that serve the common good (for example, national defense, public health, education, police and fire protection).

In order to ensure that the supplies and services obtained by the government are obtained at fair market value, and that there is fair competition among interested vendors, ...

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