Erin council compels report on bid evaluation process after another contract rescinded

Contract for Kubota tractor awarded to wrong company, blamed on 'typographic error'

ERIN – Town infrastructure director Nick Colucci will need to return to council with a report on the town’s bidding and vetting process.

Councillor John Brennan moved a motion, successfully carried by council on April 27, to compel Colucci to detail how the town acquires bids from companies on its tendered projects, and how the town can take steps to vet and analyze bids to catch errors.

Mayor Michael Dehn was not present at the meeting.

Brennan’s motion comes after the town had to rescind another awarded tender at its most recent meeting because of an error.

On March 23, council approved a staff recommendation to award a tender to Premier Equipment Ltd. for a new Kubota 4000 Series MX 5400 tractor, to replace older equipment at Barbour Field.

The $116,004 bid was over budget by $66,004, and council approved a withdrawal from a reserve to fund the purchase.

But Premier doesn’t sell new Kubota-brand equipment.

When the Advertiser brought the detail to the attention of senior communications officer Lavina Dixit, she confirmed an error had been made in the staff recommendation approved by council.

“Premier was awarded another tender on the same day, but not this one,” Dixit wrote in an April 6 email.

“Staff is working to correct this one.”

As the Advertiser previously reported on April 5, Premier Equipment was awarded the contract for two John Deere 3039R sidewalk tractors.

The tender for the Kubota tractor was published to on Jan. 31, according to Dixit, and received a single bid.

At council’s April 27 meeting, the contract was rescinded and properly awarded at $116,004 to Ed Stewart’s Garage and Equipment Ltd., which beat out bids for another town tractor, securing the contract worth $249,449.

The town recently rescinded a $3-million tender awarded to a Toronto construction company for Erin Centre 2000 renovations after a financial error was later discovered by the architectural firm that produced it.

Speaking to council on April 27, Colucci blamed a “typographic error” in the recommendation for the Kubota tractor.

Brennan said the intent of his motion is to find steps that could be taken to ensure errors are caught before bids are awarded.

“Maybe there is nothing, maybe it’s just human error, but I think it’s worthwhile having a look at the process,” Brennan said, adding doing so may improve the process and save time and money in the future.

There was no timeline established for Colucci to bring the report to council.