City officials defend contract awarding process
City officials are defending their contract process after an auditor's report raised a number a questions about how contracts are awarded.
The city's auditor, Tracy McTaggart, says tips came in through the whistleblower program alleging breach of policy and impropriety by some city employees.
"We found a disproportionate use of sole sourcing for non-competitive awards; a high number of change orders being used to significantly increase contract values; as well as the concentration of purchasing authority without the checks and balances that we normally expect to see," says McTaggart.
The chair of the Audit Committee, Alderman Brian Pincott, says while there may have been some looseness around city policies he only knows of one complaint involving procurement. "It is from somebody who feels that they should have gotten the contract," says Pincott.
The city's contract awarding policies came under scrutiny last week after it was revealed some multi-million dollar contracts were awarded improperly. One of those contracts was for the Peace Bridge.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation says taxpayers should be outraged at the city. "This is millions upon millions of their dollars that, at the very least, have been spent without proper approval and, at worst, have been stolen," says Scott Hening.
Hening says if the irregularities were noticed after looking at only 100 cases, someone needs to go back and review all 46,000 cases. "We clearly know there is wrongdoing here and people may go to jail," says Hening.
City officials say if evidence of fraud is found, in relation to the awarding of city contracts, those cases will be handed over to police.