Ken Reid would love to continue his canine control duties for the town.
Although he can’t provide all the services as outlined in the town’s request for proposals from agencies interested in providing animal control for Niagara-on-the-Lake, he hopes to be able to contribute something.
He sees the town moving away from what he considers to be small-town community spirit, to operating like a large corporation, and he gets that, but he loves his job, and would like to think there is a way to continue doing it.
The town’s canine control officer for 22 years discovered recently, when he went to the town to discuss renewing his contract, that he is soon to be out of a job. The town is looking for a proposal for a much larger packages of services.
That came out of the blue, he said. “I still want to work. I will do it month-to-month, or with a one-year contract. Obviously there is no way I can fulfill that proposal, but after 22 years of working for the town, I want to continue working, to serve the community. I feel I have to submit something.”
He’s been told he should consider submitting a proposal, but the scope of what the town is looking for is more than one person can provide.
However, he says, he is considering submitting something, if only to outline the services he can provide, and hope that might be enough.
“It took me by surprise, that there was no discussion with me and that they would go about it the way they did,” he said of town staff.
Reid says he expected a call to stop by the town hall and renew his contract, by Nov. 1, although it doesn’t end until Dec. 31. This year, when he didn’t hear anything, he went to the town hall and started asking questions.
A staff member said “they were going a different route, and I should check out the town’s website.” There he found the request for proposals he sees as directed at a humane society or some similar large, established organization to serve NOTL and Grimsby, and the possibility of other municipalities coming on board, to provide extensive 24-hour animal control services, with staff and facilities to impound animals.
In answer to questions from The Local, town staff responded by email.
Planning director Craig Larmour said through the RFP, “Niagara-on-the-Lake is aiming to provide a more comprehensive level of service for the growing needs and expectations of the community.”
The resulting contract will include all animal control-related functions, including domestic animals, livestock, and wild animals within the municipality, he says.
The town has a procurement policy to follow for any contracted services, as outlined by Larmour:
• Ensure the most cost-effective methods are used for the acquisition of goods and services for all operations;
• Ensure the prices paid for goods and services make optimum use of resources and will best serve the interests of the corporation and, through it, the residents of the town; and,
• Maximize openness, accountability, and transparency throughout the procurement process.
“The current procurement opportunity enables the town to ensure that the provision of this service is subject to a process that achieves these objectives,” he says. “It also allows the town to partner with another local area municipality(ies) to provide shared services.”
Larmour adds, “Mr. Reid has provided a valuable service to the town over the last several years. The procurement is in no way a criticism of Mr. Reid’s service, and it is hoped that Mr. Reid will consider submitting a proposal.”
CAO Marnie Cluckie agreed, also by email, “that Mr. Reid has provided a valuable service to the town over the last several years. Town staff did inform Mr. Reid of the RFP process and I can confirm that the new procurement is in no way a criticism of Mr. Reid’s service.”
Cluckie also agreed that on Oct. 21, bylaw services staff spoke with Reid, confirmed his contract officially ends on Dec. 31, and also informed him that the town was pursuing a joint request for proposal (RFP) for animal control services with the town of Grimsby, encouraging him to apply, and offering to assist him with accessing RFP documents posted by the Town of Grimsby.
“The staff member tried to articulate that this was being done, not as a result of dissatisfaction but rather because the existing contract was coming to an end, and the town needed to clearly articulate the scope of work currently required (which is modified from the canine control scope that he has been presently providing). Additionally, the town must follow the objectives of the town’s procurement policy,” said Cluckie.
Addressing the issue of Reid receiving this information after going to town hall to ask about his contract because he had not heard from town staff, and after the RFP was posted online, Cluckie added that “having recently spoken with Mr. Reid, I understand and completely appreciate his feeling that this notification could have come earlier. While the timing of information delivered to Mr. Reid does not hinder his ability to respond to the RFP, as the process has not yet closed, it is important to the town that service providers feel valued and are given adequate notification. Staff are currently reviewing the procurement policy and the importance of formalizing notice for the expiration of contracts to ensure appropriate notification is addressed. Mr. Reid has provided a valuable service to the town. However, the scope of work of this contract hasn’t changed in some time and needed to be revised to reflect current needs, which extend beyond canine control to include all domestic animals, livestock and wild animals. The RFP also calls for the provision of impoundment, quarantine and humane services. Those services weren’t competitively procured during this contract term, which is a requirement of the procurement policy.”
Cluckie continues: “NOTL is committed to being an equal opportunity employer. The town would not assume that anyone is eliminated from the bidding process. There are many options available to bidders, including combining resources when submitting a proposal in order to increase the potential of success in the procurement selection process.”