The County of Wetaskiwin council has decided to stay with their current safety codes partner after a detailed presentation at the Planning and Development meeting Apr. 12.
Director of Planning and Development David Blades presented councilors with a memo regarding renewal of Superior Safety Codes’ contract, which was due Mar. 31, 2018, noting that councilors previously wondered, in essence, if the contract should be renewed or tendered.
“At the February 8, 2018 Council for Planning and Economic Development meeting, Administration informed County Council that the Safety Codes Council and County Administration had undertaken a successful audit of accredited Safety Code Services within the County,” stated the agenda memo.
“In addition, Council was also informed that the Agreements between the County of Wetaskiwin and the Safety Codes Service Provider, Superior Safety Codes Inc., was scheduled to be renewed by March 31, 2018 due to the three year term of the contract coming due. In this regard, Administration prepared the respective Agreements to renew the contractual arrangements between the County and Superior Safety Codes Inc. and also composed a brief synopsis and history regarding the matter of sole sourcing of Safety Code Services and the retaining of Superior Safety Codes Inc. to provide said Services that occurred from 2013 to 2014 for the reference of Council, which was presented at the March 8, 2018 Council for Planning and Economic Development meeting.
“At the March 8, 2018 Council for Planning and Economic Development meeting, Council engaged in discussions as to whether Safety Codes Services should remain sole sourced with Superior Safety Codes Inc. or should be reopened to all Safety Codes Service providers in a non-sole sourced fashion, whether there should have been a tender process for the sole sourcing rather than a recommendation to renew the contract with Superior Safety Codes Inc., and that there is a need for the fee schedule provided by Superior Safety Codes Inc. for their provision of Safety Code Services to be further clarified. Therefore, Council resolved to table discussions regarding the Superior Safety Codes Contract Renewal to the April 12, 2018 Council for Planning and Economic Development meeting where Administration would present the pros and cons of sole sourcing to Council, as well as additional clarification,” added the memo.
Two representatives of Superior Safety Codes were present for the meeting, Laural Sheeler and Raymond Hajjar.
Blades explained to councilors the municipal staff saw benefits to sticking with one safety codes company, as it speeds and simplifies safety codes processes, the staff qualifications are well-known and important confirmations are easier to make.
Blades noted the City of Wetaskiwin, Town of Millet and many other surrounding municipalities also stay with a single safety codes company for the same reasons.
Blades noted that even if the work was tendered out, staff would probably still recommend SSC get the contract.
Assistant CAO Jeff Chipley said tendering the contract out may result in a new provider, which would include a learning curve while SSC is familiar with the county and provides good service and value already.
Councilor Lyle Seely said if there is only one safety permit option, contractors or residents have no alternative when dealing with the county even if a conflict arises. Councilor Terry Van de Kraats echoed the concern.
Councilor Ken Adair stated there is always the potential for conflict regardless of which company is handling permits.
Sheeler said SSC takes those concerns seriously; the company has many inspectors, so if there is a problem, a different staff member can take over and a conflict resolution process also exists. “So we definitely have back-up for all of our safety codes officers as well,” said Sheeler.
Councilors unanimously agreed to extend the Superior Safety Codes’ contract for three years.