Last term, when they were raising their pitchforks to storm the bureaucratic castle, the members of today’s Collingwood Council – those we disparagingly refer to as The Block – were loudly castigating the former council for having once done a sole-source deal with the company that was the only Canadian supplier of a product in the whole country. Some said we should have gone further afield, to American sources.
We were evil, they told their cadre of supporters, for not going to tender, or other process like an RFP. The Block’s leader and now Deputy Mayor, Brian Saunderson pledged his word in print to the public that, if he was elected, he would…
Change the purchasing policy to ensure there can be no sole sourcing of any contract for goods or services over $25,000, no exceptions.
He promised everyone he would do it. NO EXCEPTIONS, he said. Just elect me and watch me fix things. Two years later… and we’re still waiting for him to keep his word.
Meanwhile, the very first contract The Block approved, February 2015, was a sole-source contract for taxi services to Councillor Fryer’s brother-in-law. And ever since then, it’s been one sole-sourced contract after another, handed out by this council like party favours.
Apparently the words “no exception” mean the rules can be changed when it suits The Block’s purposes. But they don’t call these “sole sourced” any more. To avoid the public shaming that might follow, they call them “non-standard” purchases. How devious.
Almost every consultant (there’s only one exception that I know of) the Town has hired these past two years to produce the Block’s self-serving (and frequently erroneous) reports has been sole-sourced. The $700-an-hour lawyer overseeing the sale of our utility (and the inevitable privatization of our water utility) was sole-sourced. The people doing the IT assessment for the town were sole-sourced.
On the agenda for Monday, January 30 are no less than THREE more sole-sourced items. One is a truck ( $172,175.00 plus HST). One is for a new membrane for the water treatment plant ($130,576.00 plus HST). The third is for two buses ($846,075.74 plus taxes). More than $1.14 million in sole-sourced purchases in a single evening.
And all three will be approved BEFORE the 2017 budget is passed (add another $42,000 if they pass their byzantine changes to the election process…).
And on page 123 of the agenda, you will see the proposed new procurement bylaw that enshrines sole-sourcing into the town’s procedures, allowing…
A Non-Competitive Process, where the goods, services or construction are acquired directly from a particular supplier without conducting a competitive process…
So far from making”no exceptions” Saunderson and his fellow Blockheads will make the exceptions THE LAW. Legitimizing the sole-sourced purchases that they criticized not very long ago. Do as I say, not as I do… no one is holding their breath waiting for Saunderson to keep his word.
Ain’t hypocrisy grand? You can bet that this will be ignored by the local media, too. After all, what are friends for if not to overlook blatantly misleading the public?
Collingwood deserves better.