Council members need to have the ability to act and vote independently

As The Mayor Sees It with District of Barriere Mayor Bill Humphreys

A few residents have asked me how the District chooses who does some of the project work we are currently doing around town.

One project that came up was the new roof on the old HY Louie building.  In that case, council looked at the various types of roof systems and chose the Styrene Butadine Styrene membrane type.

Once this decision had been made staff placed a Request For Proposal (RFP) on BC Bid. BC Bid is an online bid process that most contractors check. Staff also contacted a number of local suppliers to make sure that they were aware of the opportunity.

This process is different from the Request For Quote (RFQ) process which is done when the project has been engineered and the costs are worked out in the contract documents by the engineer overseeing the project. The RFQ process was used for the sewer collection project.

In the end, the District received five proposals to do the work. The procedure then is to have council discuss these proposals in a closed session of council. The reason for this is the details of each proposal are considered private until one is chosen. Once a particular proposal is chosen, that proposal is announced, and any further details can be worked out by staff

In some cases, once a particular proposal is chosen, it may happen that the company that is going to do the work is locally based and ready to do the work literally the “next day.”

That is what happened with the HY Louie building roof project. When contacted by staff the contractor asked to start as soon as possible to avoid a conflict with other work. It may have looked like the contractor was picked out and council was just going through the motions, but I assure you that is not the case.

There is no current council member that would risk their good name and reputation to not follow proper protocol in the granting of project work for the District. I am not suggesting that it does not happen. I cannot speak to what other councils do currently, or have done in the past.

It should be made clear here that each council member is considered to be their own guardian of their ethics and decisions.

I was told that a former council member was suggesting that proper procedure is that council members should speak out if they feel a particular motion would place other members of council in a conflict of interest. This is, and always has been, quite simply wrong.

Each member of council has to have the ability to act and vote independently.

Council members are given opportunities to be trained in what conflict of interest is, and in fact are required to attend at least one training session prior to taking their place at the council table. There is no test at the end of the training though, so perhaps some taking the training could go away without the needed knowledge. That certainly seems to be the case if this former member of council is suggesting that there be a sort of collective censure in place at the council table. 

The District is working on the details of the build out of services at our recently acquired industrial park. Soon we will check the well that was drilled a few years ago to see if it is serviceable. Once we have properly established how much water we can produce we will then go forth with the design of water and power services in the park. As with any project it is best to do the planning first. I am not a big fan of doing things twice just because we didn’t take the time at the outset to plan properly.

I attended the celebration of life gathering for Eleanor Moore held on Saturday at the Legion Hall. The Moore family and friends welcomed a number of people to remember Eleanor, visit with each other and catch up on news. It was very pleasant.

I hope you all had a good long weekend. The weather held for the annual Lions Club Easter egg hunt and pancake breakfast which is a good thing.