Residents of Shawville were caught off-guard on Tuesday as their garbage bags hadn’t been taken from the curb by the end of the day. The cause was a contract dispute between the town and the contractor they hire for waste and recycling disposal, Brandon Smith. Municipal workers have taken over the collection in the mean time.
CHIP 101.9 spoke with Mayor Bill McCleary and Pro-Mayor Richard Armitage (who also sits on the council’s waste management committee) about the issue.
They explained that council first discovered in December last year that some of their previously signed contracts, including waste management, broke the law and sought out legal advice. They said that they also approached Smith to see if he would continue with a new contract. Both McCleary and Armitage stated that when they reached out the first time in December, Smith told them he wasn’t interested in the new contract, but said he would continue on until they found a replacement. When they contacted him again in February, they said he had changed his mind and told them he did want it.
CHIP 101.9 has reached out to Smith for comment, and this story will be updated in the event he responds. His father, Todd Smith, responded to a message via social media and said “we have nothing more to say.” Todd and McCleary had an argument over the situation in a series of Facebook comments (screenshots below).
According to the minutes of the February 22, 2022 Shawville council meeting (link below), the town awarded Brandon Smith the contracts for garbage and recycling disposal, for the years 2022, 2023 and 2024, through a resolution adopted on October 27, 2020. McCleary was a councillor in Shawville at the time the original resolution was adopted.
The contracts were both worth $24,999.99 per year, and the minutes state that the “council believed in good faith that it was respecting the law in regard to the process for the attribution of contracts.”
The municipality was informed that the contract wasn’t in compliance with the law and “a public call for tenders should have been launched in order to award such a contract which has a value exceeding $105,700.00.”
Council then voted to terminate the contract with Smith and offer him a new contract for the years 2022 and 2023 for an amount of $104,987.46. Under the municipality’s new contract bylaw, which came into effect at that same meeting on February 22, council can award contracts under the $105,700 threshold by mutual agreement, without a competitive bidding process.
The new contract also includes the following conditions:
The Municipality will not provide the dump trailer to
A monthly invoice will be sent to the Municipality by
the contractor for the services rendered;
The contract will be terminated on November 30, 2023.
McCleary said that Smith had done a “fantastic” job and that they had no issues prior to this change of contract. He said that last week, the town’s legal counsel sent Smith documents terminating his old contract and offering him the new one outlined above. He and Armitage said when the garbage was not picked up on Tuesday morning, they contacted Smith and he told them that he wouldn’t be signing the new contract.
Asked if they would now be putting the garbage and recycling contracts out to public tender, McCleary said that it was a possibility, but they would be looking into the cost of having municipal employees conduct the work in the future as well.
When asked about another contract he mentioned that had been deemed illegal, McCleary said that they were working on it but refused to divulge any more details at the time.
The minutes from the February 22, 2022 meeting are available below (the contract bylaw is on pages 11 to 19, the waste management contract is referenced on pages 20 and 21):
The full interview with McCleary and Armitage is available here.