City Hall’s secret cash machine

top secret stampDid you know that our Vision-Vancouver-dominated City Council has a Bid Committee that operates in secret? Council gave it authority to award contracts of any size without going out to tender whenever Council is on summer break. The Bid Committee — composed of City Hall bureaucrats (namely the city manager, director of finance, and voting department heads) — can also award contracts of up to $2 million in value at any time.

That added up to 39 contracts worth a whopping $95,477,574 awarded in secret in 2015 alone. (You can find this info in the City of Vancouver’s 2015 Procurement Report online here.)

The Bid Committee takes no minutes. Its meetings are not public. So the people of Vancouver have no ability to watch the meetings in progress or even read about the proceedings after the fact in the form of minutes to understand how the decisions are made.

This whole shady process was brought to light recently in a very good article Bob Mackin wrote for Business in Vancouver. What makes a bad situation even worse is the fact that this secret committee is awarding very substantial contracts to close “friends” of Vision Vancouver, such as Bob Ransford, who has worked as a Vision Vancouver strategist and lobbyist. The Bid Committee secretly decided to award Ransford the $90,000-contract to manage the “Yes” campaign in last year’s TransLink referendum on behalf of Metro Vancouver mayors. To make matters even worse, these kinds of contracts to “friends” are being awarded without being tendered — in short, without any competition.

When the party in power at City Hall has the ability to award lucrative contracts to its “friends” or anyone in secret without minutes and without tendering, corruption is not a theoretical risk — it’s reality.

No one disputes the fact that bids with a value under a certain modest amount could be awarded by such a Bid Committee rather than having the contract come to Council for approval.

However, any such committee must hold its meetings in the open for all to see.  It must also keep a written record of all proceedings, including how decisions are made, which the public can access. To do anything else moves Vancouver ever closer to the double “Mayor Daley” corruption legacy in Chicago.


This entry was posted in City Hall, fiscal responsibility, influence peddling, Transit, TransLink, Vancouver, Vision Vancouver and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to City Hall’s secret cash machine

  1. Anita Romaniuk says:

    Considering the failure of the Translink “Yes” vote, Ranford’s contract for the $90,000 didn’t get Vancouver’s taxpayers much, did it?

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