The RMWB is dealing with some shortcomings when it comes to procurement.
Wood Buffalo council learned on Tuesday that two audit reports found a lack of training and transparency with contractors was leading to inconsistent bidding processes.
“It didn’t come as a big surprise that [the municipality] wasn’t following our own policies and we weren’t following the leading policies,” said Mayor Don Scott.
MNP studied multiple projects, ranging in value from around $35,000 to $44 million, determining whether proper protocol was followed.
They found employees were treating each bid the same, despite the size, scope, and type of project. MNP says they also discovered most employees haven’t received formal training.
Scott says the issue has been brought up many times by local businesses.
“Mayor and council noticed a lot of problems because we’ve been hearing from community members about the challenges they were having with the procurement process.”
Despite multiple questions from council regarding ways to help benefit local groups, MNA says the municipality isn’t allowed to favour any business over another.
“There are some trade agreements that prohibit focusing on local procurement,” added Scott. “We need to start lobbying other levels of government on this issue. If there are reasons we can’t start focusing more on our local businesses, that’s something we need to focus on.”
Meanwhile, council also passed an action plan to ensure the recommendations by MNP are followed.
“I, and I know the team at the RMWB, welcome the opportunity to learn from the findings and to move forward in a positive direction, working with all our stakeholders,” added Annette Antoniak, CAO.
The municipality will have until the second quarter of 2019 to complete the plan.