Rentals violate Petrolia bylaw

395 Fletcher St. - the building formerly owned by Petrolia's former CAO which the town is renting for storage

The deal which saw Petrolia rent buildings from its Chief Administrative Officer violates the town’s own bylaw.
In 2008, the town passed a procurement bylaw – every municipality has one. It lays out specifically how items are to be purchased.
For example, staff can purchase items up to $7,500 without getting a written quote. Anything over that must be bought with a competitive bidding process.
But the purchasing bylaw doesn’t cover property rentals.
After The Independent revealed the town’s CAO had bought a building which is now being rented by the town, residents began to ask questions about how it could have happened. “Did tenders for storage go out?” asked one person on Facebook.
The answer was no. And it wasn’t necessary. Written right into the bylaw are exemptions for the rental, lease, purchase and sale of property land or accommodation and the hiring of contract employees.
So even though the CAO’s numbered company is receiving $2,500 a month rent from the town – $30,000 a year – it doesn’t fall under those guidelines.
But the town’s bylaw does prohibit employees from profiting from purchases.
Section 7 is titled Conflict of Interest and reads; “No purchase of goods or services shall be made from any employee of the town or from any company in which an employee of the town has an interest. A contract for goods or services placed with a relative of an employee of the town shall be declared and that employee shall not be placed in a position to supervise or approve the execution of that contract.”
The town has hired an integrity commissioner to look into the contract.
This is not the first time the purchasing policy has not been followed. In March 2015, town council approved a $170,000 generator for Victoria Hall. The town’s electrician recommended the unit and installed it.
Under the town’s bylaw, any item purchased for more than $25,000 should be tendered out.