News

Council defends tendering process

By Monte Sonnenberg, Simcoe Reformer

SIMCOE  - 

A fleet of uniform snowplows in Norfolk would present the county with several advantages.

Training time would be reduced because all county drivers would be adept with all vehicles.

With each driver capable of driving any given vehicle, safety under sometimes trying conditions would improve.

The county garage would also have to keep fewer parts in stock because each vehicle would be the same. Turn-around times on maintenance work would also improve.

Norfolk council, however, didn’t go for it this week out of fears that the taxpayer might take a bath.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Norfolk public works proposed that the outfitting of all new vehicles be entrusted to the firm Viking-Cives Ltd. of Mount Forest.

Viking-Cives has already outfitted 37 of Norfolk’s 40 winter-control vehicles. Sole-sourcing with Viking-Cives for five years, staff said in a report, would standardize the entire fleet and streamline its management.

“Staff are required to operate a number of different winter-control vehicles throughout the course of a winter season and this will ensure that they could operate any of our vehicles at any given time based on the needs of our operation,” Angie Smuck, Norfolk’s fleet administration co-ordinator, said in a report to council.

“When responding to winter storm events staff are exposed to severe driving conditions and extended work hours. A uniform fleet of winter-control vehicles will assist them in keeping the county’s roads safe throughout the winter.”

Waterford Coun. Harold Sonnenberg said this makes sense.

“Why would you want to stock parts from four different suppliers spread across the county?” he asked.

But council is leery of straying from the tendering process. Council concluded that tendering must prevail to ensure taxpayers get the best deal possible.

“I’m not going to support this,” said Port Rowan Coun. Noel Haydt. “There’s no price tag on this. You’re basically giving them carte blanche for five years. You’re saying we’re willing to pay triple because we love them so much.”

MSonnenberg@postmedia.com