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(Monday, June 12/2000)-- The following is a statement to Mayor Fitzgerald and Halifax Regional Councillors from Larry Uteck, Project Champion, for the Harbour Solutions project.
It has recently been reported by the media that several members of Council feel they have been deceived by staff in regard to the Harbour Solutions bid process. Also, I read that these same Councillors feel that the process is further tainted by the fact the project manager was formerly employed by a partner in one of the short-listed consortia.
It begs the question. Where were these people?
Firstly, Council specifically asked staff for a shadow bid-- NOT a full formal bid. A shadow bid is a reference bid. Of course, we hope and expect one or more of the proponents to better our bid. Why else did we spend the last two years debating and structuring this process?
If Council recalls, the problematic issue of the Halifax Regional Water Commission's involvement with a single consortium was debated and batted around for months between the municipality and the Province. The final resolution from the Province was that the Commission must be involved with all or none of the consortia's bids. The first option would not have provided us with any alternatives (merely a construction tender). In the latter case, we have a true comparison against the costs we know (shadow/reference bid) and fit them in with the total package. As we know from our experience with this type of process, the sum of the parts does not equal the whole. One cannot extract one element or service from the whole, without completely altering the integrity of the bid.
As to the question of Mr. Maurice Lloyd's perceived conflict of interest, we as a Council were introduced to Mr. Lloyd on his appointment as Project Manager. At the same time, we were made aware of his qualifications and work experience. Well over a year ago, all of the varius proponents, partnerships were made available to Council. Only those who did not read the material failed to notice that Mr. Lloyd's former employer was included amongst the listed parties. There was never any attempt to hide this fact. If one were to examine the original list of proponents and their partners, it would be difficult to find a consulting engineer in this country who hasn't previously been associated with one or more of them.
We had similar discussions with the Solid Waste tendering process. At that time, Mr. Howard Epstein (former HRM Councillor, now an NDP Member of the Legislature) inferred that the present Deputy CAO George McLellan had a conflict of interest. I found his remarks at the time particularly distasteful, and I find the present accusations equally inappropriate and unfounded".
Halifax Harbour Solutions
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Councillor Sue Uteck