By Medicine Hat News on August 4, 2021.
Medicine Hat city council approved a motion to conduct a third-party audit of how a potential privatization of Invest Medicine Hat was handled.
The decision, reached unanimously at Tuesday’s city council meeting, comes after the lone bidder in a request for proposals backed out due to a perception of conflict of interest last month.
“I move that city council directs that a qualified, independent third party be engaged to review and determine whether the procurement process in relation to the recent request for proposals – CMH21-94, the land and economic development services – was conducted in accordance with applicable city policies and generally accepted practices related to the public procurement in Alberta, and report the results to the audit committee,” Coun. Darren Hirsch told council Tuesday evening.
The RFP process was approved in mid-May and appeared on public-sector tendering websites on June 15. However, the RFP only became public knowledge when reported by the News less than two weeks before it closed, on July 19.
On July 23, Orka Management – the lone bidder on the proposal – said it would not participate further in the request for proposals, and sealed its proposal that was put together by current managers of the city office, a situation allowed under case-specific conflict of interest guidelines in the process.
A public outcry arose about how the RFP was developed, structured, and how it might have been considered by administrators and council before an approval vote this month.
Last month, Medicine Hat Mayor Ted Clugston blamed public criticism and media coverage as potential factors as to why more companies didn’t finalize proposals in the RFP.