Alberni increases use of consultants

Of 250 businesses that were hired by the City of Alberni, 35 are consultants, 13 of whom were paid more than $25,000 each.

The city used more consultants in 2013 that it did in 2012, a report to city council noted.

Specifically, the city retained the services of 45 consultants in 2013.

According to city manager Ken Watson who wrote the report, the increase was due to the larger number of projects that the city was involved with this year.

The report was produced at the behest of city council, who asked for a summary of consultants being used for projects undertaken in 2013.

Companies hired by the city are classified as suppliers, contractors or consultants. Sub-categories of those professions include appraisers, brokers, engineers, notaries and surveyors.

Of 250 businesses that were hired by the city, 35 are consultants.

Thirteen of the 35 consultants were paid more than $25,000 each, which automatically lists them in the city’s statement of financial information, the report noted.

Some consultants are hired on an on-going basis, while others are hired on a project-specific basis. The city undertook 18 specific projects in 2013 including the Bob Dailey Stadium track surface upgrade, the city building energy upgrade, Harbour Road Phase One, Plywood Site contamination study and water treatment upgrades, the report showed.

Consultants had a hand in all of the initiatives in the city’s strategic plan.

In an interview with the News, Watson pointed out that consultants provide expertise that the city doesn’t have on staff, or when staff don’t have the time.

“We don’t have a lawyer, BC land surveyor or specialized engineer on staff for instance,” Watson said. “We hire consultants when we require additional expertise over and above what we have on staff.”

Watson cited the recent city bylaw review as an example of how consultants are hired for over-capacity situations. “The city planner and technician are capable of doing the work. But there’s just the two of them and in this instance their other duties prevent them from having the time to do the work,” he said.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

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