Vancouver city council rubber-stamped five contracts worth almost $85 million on Oct. 25 at the first meeting since the civic election and last meeting of Mayor Kennedy Stewart’s term.
The only no-bid contract approved was $3.165 million to FCA Canada Inc., formerly Chrysler Canada Inc., to buy 54 Dodge Charger Enforcer police cruisers.
The contract is temporary because FCA notified the city that it will discontinue Dodge Charger Enforcers after the 2023 model year. The city and FCA originally entered a contract in August 2013 for three years, but the initial term was extended to six years in 2013 and included two one-year options.
“FCA Canada Inc. will begin to receive orders for 2023 Model Year Dodge Charger Enforcers at the end of October/beginning of November 2022,” said the report to council from Alexander Ralph, the city’s chief procurement officer. “If city orders are not placed during this narrow timeframe, the City may not be able to procure sufficient supply of vehicles to meet the VPD’s annual fleet replacement requirements.”
Green Coun. Adriane Carr questioned why the city wasn’t buying any electric vehicles.
“There are no electric options for this type of vehicle at this time,” said Albert Shamess, the city’s director of green operations. He said it could be a few more years before battery technology is suitable for police cars.
City procedures delegate authority to a so-called bid committee comprised of the city manager, chief financial officer and head of the relevant department that seeks a contractor for goods and services (including construction) between $750,000 and $2 million.
The bid committee meets in secret and does not publish agendas or minutes, though it does publish summaries of contract awards. City council’s nod is needed for bid committee-recommended contracts over $2 million.
The biggest contract award approved Tuesday was for $28.23 million to Pomerleau for work on the Granville Bridge to demolish the north loops and reconfigure the bridge. Pomerleau underbid three competitors, BD Hall Constructors Corp. ($36.7 million), Jacob Bros. Construction Ltd. ($34.65 million), and NorLand Limited ($36.94 million). It went to vote during the afternoon session. Only councillors Mellissa De Genova and Colleen Hardwick voted in opposition.
Another report gave a $23.3 million contract to Microserve for computer hardware and services and $9.94 million job to CDW Canada Corp. for enterprise software and services. The city has more than 7,000 personal computers at over 100 worksites under the auspices of city hall, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, Vancouver Police Board and Vancouver Public Library Board.
Compugen Inc. and Insight Canada Inc. were unsuccessful bidders for both contracts. CompuCom Canada Co. was the other bidder for the hardware contract and Long View sought the software contract. The request for proposals for the five-year contract, with four one-year options to extend, was originally advertised before the pandemic, in December 2019.
City council agreed to a three-year, $17.9 million traffic control contract for Ansan Industries Ltd., plus an option for up to six one-year renewals.
The bid committee chose Ansan over Metro Traffic Ltd., and Lanesafe Traffic Control Ltd. in part because Ansan flaggers are unionized and the company is replacing its fleet with hybrid electric vehicles.
The fifth report to council did not name the second bidder.
Bid committee decided June 30 to recommend a $2.237 million contract for Direct Equipment West Ltd. for supply and services of shoring equipment for three years, with an option of six more one-year terms.
The bid committee’s internal summary, however, said United Rentals of Canada Inc. was the only other bidder that responded to the tender announcement by the May 25, 2021 deadline.
Shoring equipment is used to reinforce excavations to protect workers and utilities during construction.
The 2021 annual procurement report, tabled at the March 30 city council meeting, said the city’s supply chain department awarded $107.4 million worth of contracts during the year.
Last year, bid committee approved 35 contracts totalling $145 million. City council approved 12 contracts worth $125 million.
In 2011, the city’s bid committee picked Chevron Canada’s $17.4 million, three-year regional fuel-supply proposal the day before the civic election. Because there were no council meetings for three weeks, the committee used its authority to choose Chevron.
During the 2014 election period, staff began to publish the contract award summaries while resisting a reporter’s efforts to seek agendas and minutes from the bid committee.
In 2015, an adjudicator with the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner allowed the city to withhold records of bid committee deliberations under an exemption to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for policy advice or recommendations.
By comparison, City of Toronto’s bid award panel holds open meetings and publishes agendas and minutes.
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