PENTICTON - Chris MacKay is still not satisfied the City of Penticton has provided him with full disclosure regarding the awarding of the LED lighting contract for the South Okanagan Events Centre to Lumalex.
MacKay has been making inquires at City Hall since filing a Freedom of Information request in September 2015 after he failed to find any evidence the city issued tenders for the $250,000 contract.
“It didn’t sit well with me,” says MacKay, who was a purchasing manager in the oil patch before he retired.
It also bothers MacKay that Lumalex managing partner Rob Campbell was formerly a partner with Trio Marine Group, principles involved in the controversial Skaha Lakes waterslide project.
"According to city policy, anything over $50,000 must go out for bid,” he says, adding he has had conversations with everyone from the mayor and chief administrative officer Eric Sorensen, chief financial officer Colin Fisher to Dean Clarke, the regional V-P of Western Canada for Spectra, about the issue. He says he’s been told the city received two bids for the contract, but he hasn’t seen them. He’d also like to know what the city did with a $48,000 Fortis rebate from the lighting upgrade.
Recently, MacKay filed an additional FOI request with the city, but was told it would cost him $570 to have the city research the information he’s looking for. He says he’s already out of pocket, and doesn’t feel he should have to spend hundreds more to make the city accountable.
Mayor Andrew Jakubeit freely admits the city made a mistake when it awarded the contract for the lighting upgrade.
He says council didn’t follow policy to the letter and admits they made a mistake.
“We were told it was going to be $500,000 so it never really made the budget. We had a quote come in from one of Spectra’s sister companies to verify that number, then we had a local company, Lumalex, come in with a quote for less than half of what we were originally quoted," he says. "Everyone involved saw there was some great savings here and I remember talking about it in council, however no one made a motion to sole-source it.”
As for MacKay, the mayor doesn't know what else he wants council to do.
He says the city’s apology, tightening up of policy and ensuring the city’s partner agencies fall under city purchasing guidelines doesn’t seem to be enough for MacKay.
“Mr. MacKay seems to want more, but there isn't any more to give,” he says, pointing out MacKay’s recent FOI request involves a significant amount of staff time in research the city must bill for after the initial three hours.
Jakubeit says Mackay has met with five or six different city officials and he has been provided with information.
"From out perspective we have been forthcoming. We’ve given him every information and each time we give him something he still thinks there’s more to give,” he says.
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