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Police HQ contract raises concern

Former mayoral staffer says rules may have been broken

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A former mayoral staffer has raised concerns city officials may have violated procurement rules with contracts related to the new police headquarters building.

This morning, former mayoral advisor Brian Kelcey sent an open letter to members of city council questioning whether Winnipeg officials followed proper policy when they awarded a contract to Dunmore Corporation to manage the construction of the new police headquarters. Dunmore Corporation’s president is Ossama AbouZeid, who also managed construction of the new Winnipeg Blue Bombers football stadium.

Kelcey’s letter said the city's policy is to tender consultant contracts which exceed $100,000, but a recent city financial report suggests Winnipeg’s public service sole-sourced a contract to Dunmore and paid the company $262,580 in fees to manage the police headquarters redevelopment.

The letter also raised concern Adjeleian Allan Rubeli, an Ottawa-based engineering firm hired to help manage the police headquarters redevelopment, has been paid $4.5 million. The city initially sole-sourced a contract to Adjeleian Allan Rubeli for a fee that was not to exceed $2.6 million, the letter states.

Kelcey said there’s no evidence to suggest the firms involved did anything untoward, but it’s important City of Winnipeg staff follow their own policies.

City of Winnipeg officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Canadian Taxpayers Federation Prairie director Colin Craig said this appears to be another example of proper procedure not being followed at city hall.

Craig said city administration and elected officials need to explain why this type of activity has occurred, as they are paid to work on behalf of the taxpayer and carefully scrutinize projects.

"It looks like the city didn’t follow proper procedure," Craig said. "What’s worse is there seems to be a pattern at city hall for not following proper procedure and it’s costing taxpayers a lot of money."

Winnipeg chief administrative officer Phil Sheegl said as far as he knows the city followed proper policy, and officials did a lot of consultation with materials management before contracts were awarded.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Sheegl said he was heading into a meeting with the city’s legal department and materials management to go over and respond to the points Kelcey's letter raised. He said he would be able to respond to further questions on Wednesday.

"I just want to make sure I have all the answers to all the questions rather than doing it piecemeal," Sheegl said.

History

Updated on Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 5:15 PM CST: Adds comments by Phil Sheegl

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