Pattern Of Same Company Bidding Much Lower Than Other Companies - Local Government Bid Ethics

I wanted to get some input on this matter as it has been bugging me. I know it might sound like I am being salty, but I feel like there is something more to this.

Late last year I submitted a bid to a local government for a new installation of cameras and NVRs at 13 locations. This was my first time submitting a bid to a government. The bid specifications for the cameras and NVRs were clear. The specifications for the battery back up was a minimum of 30 minutes run time.

During the open question period multiple questions were asked about additional equipment. From my understanding the procurement department added items to the bid without asking the department that was requesting the bids. (Essentially they just tacked on more equipment to the bid.) This additional equipment included surge protection at each camera as well as head end surge protection. They also added keyboards and monitors. All of this was then added to the bid as an addendum.

Fast forward to bid due date. My bid was the second lowest and met every single specification. The lowest bid was approx $20,000 less than my bid. After requesting copies of all bids submitted I discovered the lowest bidder did not include any surge protection for cameras or head end. It also did not include any monitors or keyboards. Their battery backups listed in their bid are undersized for 30 min run time. Their NVRs were not capable of using smart codecs as the specifications required. In my opinion this added equipment was unnecessary, but I still included it in my bid as I was led to believe that if the lowest bid did not meet the specifications it was thrown out and they would check the next highest bidder and so on.

After 3 months the procurement department awarded the bid to the lowest bidder. When I inquired about why the lowest bidder was awarded the contract, when it's bid did not even come close to meeting the specs, I was told that the department that solicited the bids determined it did meet the specifications.

After doing some research on other bid solicitations I noticed a pattern of this same company bidding much lower than other companies.

My questions are:

Is there possibly some ethics or legal violations going on here?

Is this common practice to submit bids that do not meet specs if you feel the specs are excessive?

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