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The burghal of Montreal can apprentice a assignment from Chicago, N.Y. affairs databases, which are way added thorough.
Montreal launched its Vue sur les contrats database in 2015, several years afterwards added cities in North America pioneered the movement to accomplish their spending abstracts public. Alike today, it offers a abate window into burghal spending and the application action than the databases of such cities as Chicago, New York and Philadelphia. Pierre Obendrauf / Montreal Gazette
Citizens who appetite to chase the top apple contractors in Montreal, including what they’re paid and whether they’re carrying on time and on budget, won’t acquisition such basal answers in the online affairs database the administering of Denis Coderre launched as the showpiece of its proclaimed accuracy revolution.
Montreal abutting the accuracy appearance with its Vue sur les contrats database in 2015, several years afterwards added cities in North America pioneered the movement to accomplish their spending abstracts public.
And alike now, Montreal’s affairs portal offers a abate window into burghal spending and the application action than the databases of such cities as Chicago, New York and Philadelphia.
In fact, Montreal offers beneath advice than what experts say is the basic minimum that should be appear to accomplish it useful.
A collective assay by the Montreal Gazette and La Presse appear on Tuesday that two years afterwards the absolution of the Charbonneau Commission address on bribery and bunco in accessible architecture contracts, best of the city’s basement and engineering affairs are still concentrated in the easily of the aforementioned players.
And while the Coderre administering has alien accuracy measures, Montreal’s affairs acknowledgment is abridged in Vue sur les contrats and inconsistent with abstracts in a bigoted database accepted as the Système électronique d’appel d’offres (SEAO).
Compare that to New York and Chicago, which not alone absolution the arrangement bulk and acceptable applicant in their searchable online databases, but additionally accommodate the accident bid prices, payments to subcontractors and what the arrangement assuredly cost. None of that is accessible in Montreal’s Vue sur les contrats.
Even Philadelphia’s Open Arrangement Abstracts website, which has beneath accretion and whistles than New York and Chicago, offers the top 20 affairs by bulk and how abundant the burghal has paid to date on anniversary contract. The armpit additionally appearance the top 10 contractors, forth with a pie blueprint assuming anniversary one’s allotment of the arrangement dollars awarded by the city.
“This affair of accuracy and accountability starts with acceptable data,” said Matti Siemiatycki, an accessory assistant in the administering of cartography and planning at the University of Toronto. He researches basement planning, costs and activity delivery, and has accounting on how cities can abstain bulk overruns on projects.
Transparency is a aboriginal step, Siemiatycki said. And a affairs database can accomplish the accuracy action if it offers acceptable data, such as the final arrangement cost, he said.
Losing bid prices are additionally essential, Siemiatycki added.
“Who abroad was bidding?” he asked. “What were the differences in their bid prices? All of what we’re attractive for is patterns to the bidding.”
No cities in Canada action abundant acknowledgment added than arrangement champ and bid amount in their affairs databases, he noted.
Montreal says it modelled Vue sur les contrats on New York City’s CheckBook NYC, which advance all spending by the burghal and its agencies in absolute time. But the similarities stop at the familiar-looking template.
CheckBook, launched in 2010, allows the accessible to chase by contract, department, architect and subcontractor. It additionally appearance “Top 5” lists, including top-paid contractors, top subcontractors, top amount categories, best big-ticket affairs and the agencies that accolade the best contracts.
“It’s an online accuracy accoutrement that for the aboriginal time placed the city’s circadian spending in the accessible domain,” the CheckBook website says. Subcontractor advice was added in 2015.
CheckBook NYC is ranked by the United States Accessible Interest Research Group as the top accuracy accoutrement for government costs in the U.S.
Chicago and New York assume to amusement their affairs databases as a accessible blank accoutrement for spending. JONATHAN HAYWARD / THE CANADIAN PRESS
Chicago goes added in agreement of acknowledgment in its Vendor, Arrangement and Acquittal Advice database, launched in 2003. The city posts copies of affairs and bidders’ bread-and-butter acknowledgment statements to acquiesce anyone to analyze them.
The burghal alike offers chargeless workshops to the accessible on how to use the database and how accretion works.
The Chicago database contains affairs awarded aback 1993 by the city’s purchasing administering on account of 29 departments.
The Chicago Transit Authority and the Chicago Housing Authority accept their own online affairs databases.
Montreal’s Vue sur les contrats alone goes aback to 2012, and alone includes affairs awarded by the burghal and accession councils and the burghal controlling committee. It doesn’t accommodate affairs awarded by the 19 boroughs or by apple agencies, such as the Société de carriage de Montréal. And the closing doesn’t accept a affairs database.
“From day one in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration, government accuracy has been a priority,” Jamie L. Rhee, arch accretion administrator for Chicago, said through a spokesperson. “Bringing added accuracy to the application action is aloof addition way we’re accretion the advice accessible to the accessible and businesses that are absorbed in accomplishing business with the city.”
Chicago is phasing in eProcurement, which eliminates paper-based abandonment and payments. Cyberbanking bid submissions and cyberbanking approval of all abstracts will advance almanac assimilation and auditing and will access transparency, the burghal says.
In fact, Chicago and New York assume to amusement their affairs databases as a accessible blank accoutrement for spending.
New York’s Checkbook was created by the appointment of the burghal comptroller general, whose mission as the city’s arch banking administrator is to basis out decay and fraud.
Chicago’s affairs database is operated by the administering of accretion and is fed automatically by the city’s cyberbanking centralized acquittal and balance system.
By contrast, Montreal’s Vue sur les contrats is operated by the Smart and Agenda Burghal office, set up by the Coderre administering in 2014 to advertise Montreal’s technology ability by alms new agenda casework and applications.
Vue sur les contrats extracts affairs and acquirement adjustment abstracts from Montreal’s centralized acquittal system, SIMON. But abstracts is entered in SIMON manually by civilian servants, abrogation it accessible to animal error, delays and omissions.
The database additionally extracts advice from controlling summaries that accompany board and controlling board resolutions to accolade contracts. But the abstracts are inconsistent in presenting arrangement amounts, authoritative them adamantine to tabulate. Some add the acceptable bid to contingencies and incidentals and others abstracted some or all of those amounts.
Montreal and added Canadian cities could apprentice from Chicago and New York, Siemiatycki said.
“This is an important accolade that there are jurisdictions that are presenting a lot added advice than what you’re accolade in the accepted Canadian context,” he said.
“There accept been arguments that some of this is proprietary advice or confidential. I anticipate what we’re seeing in these added jurisdictions is that you can still account industry, you can still get bidders and you can clearly address a lot of advice to the accessible that provides an accountability mechanism.”
Architecture crews at assignment on the alms in New York City. Montreal says it modelled Vue sur les contrats on New York Cityâs CheckBook NYC, but the similarities stop at the familiar-looking template. Spencer Platt / Getty Images
The abutting burghal administering that Montrealers accept on Sunday will face some big decisions apropos the way the burghal awards affairs and makes them cellophane to the public.
Two associates of the approachable burghal controlling board appear in an account with the Montreal Gazette and La Presse on Friday that a ameliorate of the acceptable lowest-bidder-wins arrangement of application affairs for architecture and added types of tenders is already accepted aural the city’s apparatus.
That’s acknowledgment to Bill 122, which the Quebec National Assembly adopted into law in backward June and which grants municipalities the ability to acquaint added belief – besides amount – to appraise bids.
“We don’t accept a timeline. We’re analyzing, we’re studying,” said Lionel Perez, who has been amenable for basement for the administering of Denis Coderre the accomplished four years.
“But the cold is that the use of a weighting arrangement for affairs would begin in the abutting mandate.”
Montreal is analytical altered formulas that could be used, Perez said. For example, should amount get 40 per cent of the absolute grade? What weight should go to non-price criteria? What allotment is the burghal accommodating to pay for bigger quality?
Other acumen to be sorted out include the composition, training and circling of the alternative committees that will be appropriate to appraise the bids.
The burghal aims to conduct a pilot activity to assay the arrangement first, Perez said.
It will be up to the abutting administering to put the new arrangement into motion.
The acceptable adjustment of application a accessible architecture arrangement to the everyman befitting bid has been assailed by critics as too accessible for colluders to manipulate. Colluding firms will baptize a champ amid themselves who again puts in an aggrandized price. The added participants in the arrangement either don’t bid or advisedly abide accident bids that are college than the agreed-upon winner’s price.
Experts say that governments are more affective to the weighted belief system, which the burghal and added levels of government already use to accolade consulting affairs to professionals, such as engineers and architects.
Under Bill 122, the allotment of the final brand accustomed to anniversary criterion, such as a bidder’s accomplished performance, would be bent by the municipality. (Bill 122 additionally allows Montreal to adjudge what weight to accord to amount in application able consulting contracts, Perez said. Until now, it has had to use the blueprint set in the Cities and Towns Act, which has been criticized as giving too abundant weight to amount over quality.)
e-Procurement: “Yes, it’s in the cards,” Perez said of the public abandonment arrangement that eliminates paper-based bid submissions and payments. “In the average term.” Cities such as Chicago are already introducing e-Procurement, to accomplish it easier to assay and to access transparency.
Improving the city’s accessible affairs database, Vue sur les contrats: the burghal is attractive to add affairs awarded by the 19 apple councils to the database in 2018.
The burghal is additionally because abacus the final bulk of anniversary arrangement to the database, as cities such as Chicago and New York already do, and convalescent the way that advice is presented.
Tracking patterns in behest and subcontracting: Perez and controlling board administrator Pierre Desrochers accustomed on Friday that the burghal doesn’t clue patterns in bids or in which firms farm to battling bidders, alike admitting it is recommended by the Organization for Bread-and-butter Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The OECD urges governments to actively attending for apprehensive patterns by administering audits of accomplished calls for breakable and by interviewing consecutive accident bidders. For example, the OECD considers it aberrant for a aggregation to always abide bids but never win and for a winning applicant to again farm assignment to bootless bidders.
There are no affairs for Montreal to do such tracking, but Desrochers accustomed there is arete to it.
“We don’t accept an assay of the accident bidders,” he said. “And yes, it could be (useful) because addition who always loses, you ask, ‘What are you accomplishing there?’ At the end you say, ‘Why do you appear and bid if every time you don’t win?’”
The Montreal Gazette and La Presse accept accumulated armament in a three-part assay that looks at the application of municipal engineering and basement affairs in the post-Charbonneau era. This adventure is Part Two in the series.
Part One: City anteroom contracts: Names accept afflicted but key industry players haven’t
Part Three: Abstracts errors aloft errors: Mistakes in Quebec’s affairs database ‘unacceptable,’ abbot says
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