An exception to the Town Purchasing Policy was made, with approval from CAO Martin Taylor and Carla Fox, the director of corporate services, to allow obtaining professional services to complete work outlined in the organization review recommendations.
The exception was made during the advertisement tender process of services related to outsourcing high priority Human Resources projects.
“We’ve done request for proposals and went out to certain companies instead of being open to whoever wanted to submit. This isn’t for you to make an exception to additional money being added to the budget, the only amount that will be entered and expended in 2019 is the amount that’s approved in the budget,” said Fox.
Parameters set by the Purchasing Policy were designed for major projects as opposed to professional services, and do not effectively facilitate obtaining professional services specific to organizational needs, stated administration.
The policy requires a written proposal call or advertised tender invitation be issued for any projects between $10,000 and $75,000, which contradicts the New West Partnership Trade Agreement (NWPTS) stating that open procurement is only required for costs over $75,000 for services.
Nikiea Hope, human resources manager, added that at the time, they did not believe the project would exceed the amount within the policy and thought they would still be in compliance with the policy.
One firm was selected and a contract is being negotiated with an anticipated start date of August 27.
“I did go to five different companies to solicit quotes and I worked with other municipalities to find who they have worked through and I tried to do my due diligence that way,” added Hope. The five consulting companies specialize in Municipal Human Resource services.
Going forward, a review of Policy 016 will be done by administration.
“There are some HR services that need to be done right away but the contract is still structured that if I’m able to get those additional resources in the HR advisor in time then I can pull that aspect away from a contract and do it in house,” said Hope.
The estimated cost for the for the services in 2019 is $55,000, which was already part of the 2019 budget. Any projects awarded in 2020 are dependent upon the 2020 budget and are not expected to exceed $65,000.
A few councilors voiced their discomfort of going outside policy, and Coun. Dewly Nelson questioned whether they should have received this exception for approval prior to the exception being made. Fox agreed that best practice would be for council to have approved the exception rather than receiving it after it was already made.