2016-02-15

Rescinding of the Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough snow removal contract (call for tenders 12-12312), decision filed on February 15, 2016

Summary

The contract awarded to A & O Gendron Inc. was subcontracted when this practice was formally prohibited by a clause in the contract. In fact, all snow removal operations for almost half of the tendered territory had been outsourced to Transport DM Choquette. The borough managers have been aware of the subcontracting since the contract was awarded in 2012. The contract was rescinded.

Decision

(section 57.1.10, Montéal City Charter)

Rescinding of the Snow Removal Contract (Call for Tenders 12-12312) in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville Borough

February 15, 2016

SUMMARY

At the time of the publication of the Report on Snow Removal and Its Practices in Montréal in November 2015, the administrative investigation conducted by the Office of Inspector General had already found, as a result of the testimony gathered, that a snow removal contract in effect in a borough had been executed in violation of the clauses prohibiting subcontracting during the previous snow removal season.

The purpose of this investigation was to determine if this snow removal contract, awarded by the Ahuntsic-Cartierville Borough to A & O Gendron inc. for a period of five years (2012- 2017) for the approximate yearly amount of $1,777,931.78, continues to be carried out in the same manner during the 2015-2016 winter season.

Testimony and documentary evidence gathered show that the contracting party, A & O Gendron inc., currently retains the services of a legal entity, Transport DM Choquette, to provide part of the services, in this case all snow removal operations for almost half of the territory covered by the call for tenders.

These facts clearly point to subcontracting, which is prohibited in the contract. Subcontracting constitutes a breach of one of the requirements of the call for tenders document under subsection 1 of section 57.1.10 of the Montréal City Charter. It is the opinion of the Inspector General that this breach is objectively “serious” under the law since it concerns the very identity of the co-contractor.

Subcontracting, as already noted in the Report on Snow Removal and Its Practices in Montréal, is an identified market control tool that encourages bargaining and the risk of collusion between contractors, which has a negative impact on taxpayers.

The conditions for applying section 57.1.10 of the Montréal City Charter having been met, the Inspector General declares the contract awarded following call for tenders 12-12312 to be cancelled.

The fact that some of the borough’s managers knew that this contract was not being respected since the time it was awarded in 2012, and that it is still in force today, is troubling.

It would be unfortunate if the Inspector General were required to intervene every time an obvious and known violation of a major aspect of a contract was found. The specifications issued by the city and the boroughs systematically name each city or borough department manager or his or her authorized representative as “Director” in the day-to-day management of contracts.

The persons named in the contracts have the primary responsibility to manage the contracts to the fullest extent in obvious cases, especially since the specifications give a “Director” sufficient means to compel a contractor to comply with the provisions of a contract.

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Rescinding of the Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough snow removal contract (call for tenders 12-12312), decision filed on February 15, 2016