New policy gives Centre Wellington staff more power

ELORA – Moving forward, Centre Wellington staff have the authority to award project tenders to vendors without council approval, as long as the bid is within council-approved budget amounts and under $250,000.

Previously staff could award projects under $25,000.

The township’s tender award committee has been disbanded and replaced with a procurement review committee that consists of township staff only.

The procurement policy was presented and approved during a Centre Wellington council meeting on July 31. The new policy is an update to the existing purchasing bylaw, last revised in 2013.

According to a report on the updates, the purchasing bylaw was outdated and did not “reflect updated practices that have been introduced since its last review.

“It is also silent or vague on some items, which has resulted in inconsistent interpretation and application,” the report states.

Purchases of $25,000 or less can be approved by the department head; purchases between $25,000 and $100,000 must be approved by the manager of purchasing and risk management; purchases between $100,000 and $250,000 must be approved by the CAO and managing director of corporate services, and purchases over $250,000 must be approved by the CAO, managing director of corporate services and council.

Councillors wondered if larger tenders could be separated into smaller pieces under $250,000, and then all awarded to a single vendor, as a way to work around the policy.

Managing director of corporate services and treasurer Adam McNabb assured council there will be monitoring and checks in place to ensure that does not happen. There will also be regular reporting to council on procurements.

“The goal is to be open and transparent,” McNabb said in a subsequent phone interview. “If it is within budget, it doesn’t need extra (council) approval.”