Port Coquitlam wants more say on RCMP purchasing policy

Port Coquitlam is putting the brakes on the upkeep of the cop shop it shares with Coquitlam.

Port Coquitlam is putting the brakes on the upkeep of the cop shop it shares with Coquitlam.

This week, PoCo city council deferred a $44,200 budget request from Coquitlam to help paint the first floor of the facility that houses the Coquitlam RCMP.

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PoCo council said it isn't happy with the way Coquitlam controls the procurement policy for the police station, located on Guildford Way next to Coquitlam city hall.

Currently, under a 21-year-old agreement, the city of Coquitlam has all the say on how goods and services are delivered to the detachment and is responsible for hiring all civilian staff (there are about 100 people on staff in addition to Mounties).

At Monday's budget and infrastructure committee meeting during a discussion about this year's capital projects, PoCo Mayor Greg Moore and committee chair Coun. Dean Washington sounded off on the deal.

"We co-own this facility and we have no say on the purchasing policy," Moore told the committee.

"Until I see someone from Coquitlam who can explain why we have no input, then I will vote against everything," Washington said. "We have had nothing but silence from Coquitlam."

PoCo's frustration comes after PoCo submitted a bid last spring to Coquitlam to maintain RCMP vehicles. PoCo did not get the contract and it took eight months to find out why. When PoCo staff got their answer, it came with little description.

Moore said no methodology was revealed as to how Coquitlam scored the request for proposal (RFP). And he said the lack of transparency between the two municipalities has boiled over.

"When we are spending 16% of our budget on the RCMP, we need to have more knowledge that the process is working," Moore said. "We are not a true partner in our procurement of goods."

The topic is expected to be raised later this month at the next joint meeting of local city councils.

The 1995 Public Safety Building Operating Agreement — a copy of which Coquitlam forwarded to The Tri-City News Tuesday — states PoCo "will pay to the city [of Coquitlam] a share of the costs of maintenance, administration and operation" of the police station. It also states Coquitlam has administrative control for expenditures, budgets and civilian staff hires.

It also makes clear the consequences to PoCo if it doesn't pay up: termination of police services.

(Click here for document)

Kathleen Vincent, Coquitlam's communications manager, told The Tri-City News the agreement "continues to meet our operational needs for the administration of the public safety building."

As for the lack of info given to PoCo over the vehicle fleet RFP, Vincent said PoCo was one of seven bidders and no prices, scores or totals are provided to proponents. "Bids contain proprietary information that if provided to competitors could create future competitive advantage," she said.

In addition, Vincent said the fleet contract was awarded based on the evaluation of Coquitlam and RCMP officials. "The procurement process was completed using best practices," she said.

Meanwhile, John Leeburn, PoCo's chief administrative officer, said PoCo council also plans to discuss the cost-sharing formula at this month's joint council meeting.

"The current agreement does not contain a provision to provide for a review of the agreement or even a forum to discuss issues either party may have regarding how the agreement is working," he said.

Coquitlam RCMP declined to comment.

jwarren@tricitynews.com
@jwarrenTC

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