Thursday, May 13, 2010

Does City Council REALLY Run Things In Nanaimo?

Or Do They Just 'Rubber Stamp'
City Staff Recommendations?

The recent decision this week for City Council to put their stamp of approval (albeit after the fact) on a $5,000,000.00 contract makes you wonder just who is watching how your tax dollars are spent.

The situation arose as the result of city staff awarding a $5,000,000 contract to an out of town supplier without council's actual approval. It is notable that any purchase exceeding $250,000 requires the approval of city council and is beyond the authority given city staff.

On the advice of a lawyer that the city taxpayer could be exposed to litigation should the contract not be awarded all of council with the exception of Kipp and Bestwick voted to ratify the contract!

It seems the idea that a lawyer had suggested that the city could be open to legal action was enough to cause the balance of council to honor the agreement. Councillor Sherry said he would have to 'hold his nose' and vote to accept the contract.

The question I ask is WHY?

Is the mere suggestion that the city might be subject to a law suit sufficient reason to simply roll over and not challenge a questionable decision?

The 'advice of lawyers' was also one of the reasons that Mr. Berry was given a $500,000 parting gift.

If the opinion of a lawyer is all that is required to make a decision, why do we have those courts and judges?

Perhaps someone on council could explain why they think the city taxpayer should be held responsible for a $5,000,000.00 decision which for all intent and purpose was made by city staff who don't have the legal authority to make such a decision?


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