Comment 91884

By JoeyColeman (registered) - website | Posted September 08, 2013 at 10:47:36 in reply to Comment 91880

@highwater

The President, Chief Executive Officer, Founder, and Facilitator of Participatory Budgeting Hamilton was told by City staff that some of those items cannot be funded using area-rating infrastructure funding.

Councillor Farr does not have the power to change the bylaw that governs area-rating funds.

Nonetheless, these projects were on the ballot and now PB in Ward 2 is violating the bylaw; with all the consequences that flow from this. (Don't expect a quick answer as City legal staff are likely involved)

PBW2 started as a simple community initiative, and then morphed into a large much more complex project with many complex bylaws, processes, and the requirement for dozens of hours to submit an idea.

Now that the project has transformed such that it requires payment to a consultant, in addition to the facilitator to coordinate "Participatory Budgeting in Hamilton", City procurement processes may require the Councillor to follow more policies in determining who the consultant.

This means certain level of qualification is required, that previous successful projects be submitted for reference, and that numerous other policies regarding Boards and incorporation be met.

The City cannot cut a cheque for a $100,000 (10% of Ward 2's PB budget for example) without the safeguards required by law and policy (incorporation, Board, proven successful track-record, no or few violations of City policies in the past, a record of following city procurement policy, obeying area-rating bylaw, etc).

With that, PBW2 (which may have to be renamed if the trademark is not owned by Councillor Farr) may be assisted by a different consultant/incorporated body that could charge a smaller administrative fee with a longer history of this kind of work than the President, Chief Executive Officer, Founder, and Facilitator of Participatory Budgeting Hamilton (which is to be incorporated, but is not yet).

As the process at City Hall of reviewing PBW2, determining how to handle projects that were on the ballot and past that violate the bylaw, and the process of deciding the consultant (if needed) for next year could be underway, we don't know what the new requirements by law may be.

I note that Councillor Farr was not quoted in the statement that was issued Saturday night, and Councillor Farr has issued no statement of his own.

If there is a process underway for determining next year's consultant for PBW2, Councillor Farr may not be allowed to comment until the procurement process is complete.

The Centre for Community Study (CCS), having successfully conducted two PB processes in Ward 1 would be the leading bidder in this process based upon qualifications, lower administrative costs, track record, incorporated structure, and being one of the qualified consultants already screened in past processes.

There are numerous other corporations, including some for-profit consultants, with experience in PB that have met all the requirements of law. The City does a call for consultants on a regular basis. Depending on the complexities of the changed PB process in Ward 2, Farr may bound to use consultants that have been met this process or engage in a new full competitive process.

In short, Participatory Budgeting will continue in Ward 2. The consultant company, if there is one at all, may not be the "Participatory Budgeting Hamilton".

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