© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
Charlottetown city councillor David MacDonald speaks during a recent city council meeting.
Charlottetown is going to pay a private security firm more than $40,000 to patrol its parks but those who sit on the parks and recreation committee aren’t seeing eye to eye on the process.
Coun. Melissa Hilton, chairwoman of parks and recreation, presented a resolution at Monday’s regular public monthly meeting to accept a bid from Atlantic Private Protection Services (APPS) for $40,052 to patrol all the parks in the city this year to curb loitering and vandalism.
That resolution passed 8-2 with Councillors David MacDonald and Mitchell Tweel voting against it. What’s so odd about that? MacDonald is the vice-chair of parks and recreation. Tweel also sits on that same committee.
MacDonald said he has no issue with APPS but he does have problems with the fact that when the bids came in, the company that made the other bid for the committee to consider supplied more information than APPS did.
Councillors told The Guardian all they had to go on from APPS was the quoted price.
While the city often accepts the lowest bid, it does not have to. In this case, APPS was going to charge the city $1,500 less than the competing bid.
“I voted against it because the committee recommendation was something different than what was presented here tonight. It’s very important, for instance in this particular case, that you have an automobile that’s marked so that you can drive around the park,’’ MacDonald said, in using one example to cite information his committee didn't get from APPS.
“We didn’t have enough information to be certain (that APPS was the better bid) so, as a committee, we felt the best recourse to go was go with the company that supplied us with enough information that we were sure could do the work.’’
MacDonald said the assumption was made that APPS was more than qualified to do the work.
The administrative services committee vetted the bids and recommended that council accept the APPS bid.
Tweel said this case shows there is “a disconnect’’ between the administrative services committee and parks and recreation.
“There was no information, just the total amount of the bid. I don’t know what admin services were hanging their hat on (or) what methodology they utilized,’’ Tweel said.
Villard said the situation has been blown out of proportion.
“Bottom line is one company provided more information than the other,’’ Coun. Cecil Villard, chairman of administrative services, told The Guardian. “But the fact is . . . both met the conditions. Tradition is we go with the lowest price.’’
Villard said he is aware of APPS’ work and that it is excellent and that the police department recommended APPS.
Hilton said APPS will begin patrols of Victoria Park and other parks in the city today.
“They go from park to park and make sure there is no vandalism (and) that there aren’t people in the park because there is a curfew with respect to all of our parks within the city,’’ Hilton said. “It’s a common time of the year with vandalism in our parks so we need to start our park patrol immediately.’’
Hilton said this is the fifth consecutive year that the city has contracted out park patrol services but the first time they’ve worked with APPS. She noted the Stratford firm is “well qualified, well certified’’.
APPS will patrol Victoria Park on foot as well as by marked car and that all parks will be monitored 24 hours a day and seven days a week.