Public Works wasting taxpayer dollars

    TORONTO, Feb. 28 /CNW/ -  The tendering process used by Public Works and
Government Services Canada ("Public Works") has been called into serious
question once again. This time it involves the public tender for the
manufacture of the trailers used in the famous RCMP musical ride. The tender
has been issued three times in the past 15 months to two different companies.
The trailers have yet to be built. The cost to taxpayers has increased with
each tender. The present cost is approximately $214,500 more than the original
tender. The tendering process should be identifying the company with the
ability to produce a good product, at optimal cost to taxpayers, and in the
most realistic time frame for delivery of the trailers. Instead, Public Works
has utilized a process that is simply wasting taxpayer dollars.
    The tender was first awarded to Hi-Tech Fabricators in November, 2006, at
a cost of $1.056 million. The company made a commitment to a delivery date
that, as it turned out, was not realistic. That contract was cancelled owing
to non-compliance.
    The tender was awarded again to Hi-Tech Fabricators in June, 2007. This
time the final price for the tender was $1.161 million. Even though the
company was permitted a longer delivery time, the company was still unable to
meet its delivery deadline and the contract was cancelled.
    The tender was awarded in February, 2008 to Asphodel Firetrucks Ltd., a
company that produces firetrucks. The cost to taxpayers this time: $1,270,500.
This was NOT the lowest bid.
    Peel Truck and Trailer Equipment Inc. (PTTE) manufactured and produced
the original RCMP musical ride trailers 25 years ago. The company has produced
the previous 15 trailers for the RCMP. These trailers have outlived their life
expectancy by ten years. PTTE has also produced similar trailers for several
other companies. Innovative Trailer Design Industries Inc. (ITD) was created
by PTTE to focus on custom trailer manufacturing. PTTE/ITD has significant
experience and expertise in the production of these trailers - so much so that
on several occasions the RCMP has consulted PTTE's expertise in the design of
these new units while making very clear to PTTE/ITD that these units needed to
go tender and that they in no way could or would guaranty the contract by
assisting them.
    ITD has bid on each of the three tenders. Its original bid was a mere
$7,000 more than that of Hi-Tech Fabricators. ITD's tender was rejected
because it was not the lowest bid and because Public Works wanted an earlier
(and unrealistic) delivery time than that to which ITD was prepared to commit.
ITD's proposed delivery date of May, 2007 was only two months longer than that
proposed by Hi-Tech Fabricators. As it turned out, if Public Works had
accepted this bid, the trailers would have been built on time, by a company
with expertise in the area, in accordance with specifications, and the
taxpayer would have saved approximately $207,500 over the present contract.
    ITD accepts the concept of open public tenders. However, when the process
is abused and results in the loss of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer
dollars, and when the final product is nowhere in sight, we are gravely
concerned that such tenders are not being conducted competently.


    (1) The Tenders

    -   October 2006 a tender Solicitation No. M9062-067S40 was issued by
    Public Works. It was awarded on November 28, 2006 to Hi-Tech
    Fabricators at a proposed cost of $1,055,598.18. ITD bid
    $1,063,000. Hi-Tech Fabricators Inc., based in Manitoba,
    eventually failed to meet the delivery date. As a result the
    contract was cancelled due to non-compliance.

    -   Public Works reissued the tender under Solicitation
    No. M9062-067S40/B with a closing date of June 7, 2007. Even
    though Hi-Tech Fabricators was unable to fulfill its original
    contract, Public Works awarded the tender to that same company,
    at a cost of $105,656.98 more than the first tender. They were
    also allowed a delivery time longer than the original contract.
    Their contract was again cancelled because of delivery non-

    -   The contract placed a third time for tender Solicitation
    No. M9062-067S40/C with a closing date of January 22, 2008. This
    time the contract was awarded on February 2, 2008 to Asphodel
    Firetrucks Ltd. Of Ontario, a company with a more realistic
    delivery date but one that did not offer the lowest bid. Public
    Works awarded the tender at a cost of $1,270,500. This company
    produces firetrucks and did not show up on the list of companies
    that requested the tender document from MERX.

    (2) Guidelines

    Upon non-compliance, the "Public Buying Guidelines", which are embedded
in various Acts such as the Agreement On Internal Trade, the laws of
competitive bidding, the rules the Audititor General applies when auditing the
expenditures of public funds, and of course the local rules the various boards
impose to ensure due diligence is occurring when spending public funds, allows
government bodies to avoid the need to "re-tender" by awarding the contract to
the company with the next lowest compliant bid. That is what should have
happened in this case. Public Works advised ITD that it is not their policy or
practice to follow this procedure. Had they done so, Public Works would have
saved the taxpayer $207,500.00 and would have been in possession of the
trailers nine months ago.

For further information:

For further information: Benito Di Franco, President, Innovative Trailer
Design Industries Inc., and Peel Truck & Trailer Equipment Inc.,

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