Dear Brian Dijkema,
I completely agree with your comment that there’s a lot at stake for the Toronto’s taxpayers in the upcoming decision on whether to accept open tendering. I also agree that the need for clarity is absolutely critical.
I did comment on the numbers published in your September 2018 publication titled “Shortchanging Ontario’s Cities.” The information in your report contributed to the unrealistic massive savings stated in the Toronto Sun article of May 17th “Opening Bidding Process is City Hall’s Ticket to Big Savings.” Publishing articles like this stating that the City could save up to $400 million annually by moving to open tendering is simply not true.
In the report from the Toronto City Manager Chris Murray, dated May 29, he has questions about increased competition as well as cost savings. In his exact words Murray says, “However, it is unclear how much increased competition the City will receive on its construction tenders as a result of becoming a non-construction employer and consequently it is not possible to determine with any certainly what, if any, savings will result.”
Chris Murray is one of the most accomplished and respected city managers in the province, and I would be more inclined to agree with his assessment over the numbers supplied by Cardus in your report.
The City manager cannot confirm with any certainty facts related to savings, yet reports in the media from people that have never been a city manager, or a purchasing manager, or even work within a government agency, report astronomical savings.
As far as your comments about my remarks over the years in your Letter to the Editor, once again, it is easy to cherry-pick parts of hundreds of articles as well as several published papers and books that I have written over 30 years to advance your point of view.
A perfect example, the video you refer to in your letter. I did say “What is the point of closed tendering? What is the point of not getting value for money?” I then went on to say in the same video, “I can’t emphasize this enough, this is not about union and non-union”.
The paper that I co-authored with Glenn Ackerley, partner at WeirFoulds called “Facts or Fiction?” Dispelling the Myths about the Bundling of Construction Projects (P3s) should have been sighted in your comments for context, also written six years ago. I did say that by bundling large construction projects “thereby reducing the pool of competitors to the very select few, logically follows that the resulting reduction in competition leads to higher bid prices.” Again, this did not refer to union or non-union contractors in any respect.
In relation to the several points you sight in your letter including a question on my viewpoints. I would like to answer your question directly, “Have you since publicly renounced that research and those views?” My views remain the same in the proper context. My 44 years of actual experience in the field of procurement have taught me that it is a very complex process.
Government procurement is especially challenging, with so many factors contributing to the outcome of a tender or RFP. If it was only that simple that by having opening tendering the City of Toronto and others would save $400 million per year.
When you can prove these massive savings to the public and the municipalities, without question, I will be the first person to carry the flag for opening tendering. Until then, you need to put forth a fact-based argument and stop fanning the flames of outlandish savings to the taxpayer. By just repeating huge saving at every opportunity, with no real evidence, will not make the $400 million appear from thin air.
Purchasing Consultants International Inc.
President and CEO