News / Edmonton

Edmonton pushes to screen third party contracts with ex-employees

New process comes in light of disastrous sand-recycling program

The city has been re-using sand from city roads each winter after putting it through a recycling process.

Supplied / City of Edmonton

The city has been re-using sand from city roads each winter after putting it through a recycling process.

The city is outlining new rules to prevent potential conflicts of interest, after an ex-city employee — contracted to oversee what became a disastrous sand-recycling program — put the issue into focus last fall.

A report going to executive committee Tuesday details how administration will require potential contractors to tell the city if they have former city employees who might be directly working on projects they’re bidding for 

Dan Lajeunesse, branch manager with city corporate procurement and supply services, said the new measures will determine if conflicts of interest are present. 

“We spend over $1 billion per year in tax dollars through contacting process, and there’s a duty for us to ensure we’re getting the best value for the taxpayer,” he said. “It’s making sure our citizens have confidence in the decisions the city makes.”

In September, council tasked administration for more information on legislating a ‘cooling off’ period for ex-employees. 

Essentially that would mean a required amount of time before former workers can be contracted to do work for Edmonton. 

Council's direction came after a scathing audit found a city street-sand recycling program was mismanaged and didn’t deliver the millions in cost savings it had promised.  

The contractor — who was hired to recycle road sand— was an ex-city employee. 

“I believe that this is an exception,” Lajeunesse said. “We’ve recognized that and we’re taking steps to mitigate that from happening in the future.”

If councillors approve the plan, the cooling-off period could be between six and 12 months. 

The city may also look at each submission on a case-by-case basis, which means ex-employees who are listed on the contract may not be automatically disqualified. If there is a conflict, the city will determine if it can be mitigated. 

Administration plans to have the new screening process up and working by the end of June.

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