Edmonton

City auditor finds 'inappropriate' sole-source waste management contract

A sole-source contract awarded by waste management cost taxpayers more than $100,000, and the reasons it was handed out were "insufficient and inappropriate," according to the city's auditor.

City auditor finds sole-source contract cost the city more than $100,000

A pile of concrete waste is recycled by the city to be used to build new sidewalks and roads.

A sole-source contract awarded by waste management cost taxpayers more than $100,000, and the reasons it was handed out were "insufficient and inappropriate," according to the city's auditor.

Auditor David Wuin found the $225,000 contract was awarded in 2014 to crush concrete from the demolition projects that was taken to waste management for recycling.

Sole-source contracts are only supposed to be awarded when there is no alternative.

The auditor found the winning contractor didn't own any concrete crushing equipment, and had no previous experience in concrete crushing when the job was awarded.

Instead, the company hired two subcontractors to do the work.

There was no evidence that city staff checked the company's references or previous work. One reference provided by the contractor would not have been considered impartial, according to Wuin.

The contractor did the job for nearly double the price of the previous contract, which had been publicly tendered.

The sole-source contractor was supposed to crush 14,000 tonnes of concrete by August 2014. The company delivered only 3,285 tonnes by that date. The rest wasn't done until December 2014.

"Even the option of buying crush for the paving contract would have been approximately $52,469 less than sole-sourcing the crushing services," Wuin wrote.

He also found the contractor billed for charges without proper justification, and the city paid without investigating.

Same contractor rehired

Once the sole-source contract was finished, the job was publicly tendered in 2015. The same contractor was rehired, even though it had not delivered the year before.  

Over the course of the new contract, the company used a subcontractor to process oversized material. The city budgeted about $60,000 for that work. To date, it has paid $175,000. 

Wuin said the subcontractor's invoice "contained no support for the amount of oversized materials processed."

During his investigation, the auditor found issues with the procurement of four of the seven waste management contracts he looked into.

The city's chief financial officer, Todd Burge, has commissioned an external consultant to do a broader review of Waste Management's contracts.

The auditor's findings also sparked a review of all corporate contract management practices across the corporation.

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