THE City of Winnipeg might change its spending rules so it cannot pay consultants more than $100,000 each without considering competing offers.

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THE City of Winnipeg might change its spending rules so it cannot pay consultants more than $100,000 each without considering competing offers.

The city's corporate finance department wants to change the rules governing spending on consultants to ensure larger contracts are tendered, according to a report that comes before council's executive policy committee this morning.

The city already looks over competitive bids for any spending above $500,000, but can turn to a single consultant on occasions when there is no time to tender a contract.

In the past, the city has avoided tendering when staff believed only one consultant was capable of doing the work.

One such case involved city spending of almost $190,000 on a single governance consultant who worked on reorganization of the public service.

Between June 2008 and September 2009, the city spent $189,511 on consulting fees and expenses incurred by Concordia University professor Donald de Guerre, an assistant and his firm, the International Academy of Open Systems. The Free Press reported the spending in October after filing an access-to-information request.

Winnipeg chief administrative officer Glen Laubenstein, who procured de Guerre's services for three other Canadian municipalities before he became Winnipeg's chief civil servant, said the sole-source spending was justified because the Montreal professor was the only governance consultant who was an expert in participative design.

In November, executive policy committee asked city staff to examine the city's spending practices on consultant services. The new recommendation to require competitive bids is a result of that examination.

If approved by EPC, the spending changes still face council approval on Feb. 24.

Garbage issue back at council

The question of whether to allow residents of northwest Winnipeg the option of purchasing larger or additional garbage carts will come before executive policy committee this morning.

On Feb. 9, city council's public works committee rejected a plan that would allow northwest Winnipeg residents to pay annual fees to have their new 240-litre garbage carts swapped for 360-litre carts or get an additional cart.

This morning, EPC is likely to reverse the public works committee's decision.

Mayor Sam Katz has said he supports the plan -- but would prefer to see residents charged just once, not every year. The water-and-waste department said it needs annual fees to recover the cost of collecting the extra waste.

The plan also comes before city council as a whole on Feb. 24.

Corydon eatery appeals restrictions

The owner of Corydon Avenue restaurant Fazzo plans to appear before city council's appeals committee on Thursday to argue for a larger lounge and longer hours for the restaurant and dining area.

In January, city council's property and development committee approved a zoning amendment requested by the restaurant, which sits on the west side of the Corydon strip.

Fazzo owner Rhea Collison has appealed several conditions of that amendment, including a maximum lounge capacity of 30 people and weekend hours that end at midnight.

In recent years, conflict over the continued development of the Corydon strip has led to several appeals at city hall.

bartley.kives@freepress.mb.ca