Last year, the Town of Collingwood made 34 purchases over $2,500 without a tender process, Each was considered non-standard or emergency.
That’s according to an annual report now required by the town’s procurement bylaw (passed in January 2017, which was presented to the Strategic Initiatives Committee (SIC) at a meeting on Oct. 31.
Deputy Clerk Becky Dahl presented the report, which was prepared by Sarah Fortier, the town’s accountability officer.
According to the staff report, there were seven emergency purchases over $2,500, 25 staff-approved non-standard purchases over $2,500 and two council-approved non-standard purchases.
Council approved both the Collingwood Judicial Inquiry and the Awen Gathering Circle project in 2018.
Emergency purchases are services or construction required in an unforseen situation or event that is a threat to public health or safety, to maintain essential service, protect the welfare of people or public property, and preserve the security of the town’s interest.
Of the 25 staff-approved, non-standard purchases, 14 of them were considered legacy purchases.
A legacy purchase refers to a product that is proprietary and replacements are required to be purchased from the same company.
For example, the town paid approximately $30,000 to Sprung Structures for protective barriers for the front entrances of the Centennial Aquatic Centre and Central Park Arena because the sliding doors on both buildings were being damaged due to wind exposure.
Five purchases were sole-sourced because requests for proposals drew a single bidder, or there was no competition.
Three purchases were presented to council and approved, two were financed significantly by donations, and one was ‘exceptionally advantageous’ and time-sensitive.
The latter refers to the former Barrie Colts time clock the Town of Collingwood purchased for $60,000 and hung in the Eddie Bush Memorial Arena. Council approved the purchase.
CAO Fareed Amin assured council and those in attendance at the SIC meeting the default for town purchases is to go through a tendering process.
Amin said non-standard purchases come to him for approval, and are accompanied by a briefing note including the rationale behind the non-standard purchase.
“This is a work in progress,” he said. “It is fair to say we’re actually looking at tightening the rules even further … this is an issue the public, and elected officials, are rightfully concerned about.”
Amin said town staff try to stay away from proprietary products that will lock the town into buying something from one supplier in a non-competitive process in the future.
The staff report states non-competitive purchases are a “fact of procurement at all levels of government,” and the reporting of the purchases is for information and transparency.
To read the full staff report and the list of non-standard purchases, click here.