Cobourg Hiring a Procurement Manager

As a result of the recent organization review by KPMG, Cobourg Council have agreed to hire a Purchasing Manager to improve efficiency.  Another recommendation by KPMG was that purchasing authorities for Staff should be significantly increased – for example the CAO is currently limited to authorizing $50K.  As a result, relatively routine and minor matters are still required to be brought to Council. All purchases must be within the budget approved by Council – why micro-manage staff?  We don’t have to go very far to get a good example of what an updated policy should look like.  Northumberland County have much higher levels of authority (see table below) and also have high levels of accountability.  For example all purchases between $100K and $500K must be reported to Council quarterly.

At the County’s Finance and Audit Committee meeting on February 1, the quarterly procurement activities report was submitted and prompted me to compare the procurement policy of Cobourg to that of the County.  Have a look at them in the links below.

KPMG also highlighted the issue of authorization in their report:

The Town has not adopted a delegation of authority bylaw and as a result, relatively routine and minor matters are still required to be brought to Council.

One can see that it’s not only time to hire a purchasing manager but also time to revise the purchasing policy and authorization limits.

Both the Town’s and County’s policies specify that tenders are required for significant expenditures but only Cobourg brings so many small tender results to Council.

Authorization limits

  Town of Cobourg Northumberland County
CAO $50,000 $500,000
Finance Director $5,000 $500,000
Dept Directors $5,000 $100,000 or $50,000 (Note 1)
Managers $1,000 $25,000 or $10,000 (Note 1)
Admin Support 0 $500

Note 1.  The County’s purchasing bylaw lists authorizations for a wide range of staff.  See link below.

Let’s hope that the hiring of a Purchasing manager comes with a revised Purchasing By-Law.  I believe the approved 2022 budget includes hiring a procurement manager July 1 2022.


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Dave Chomitz
19 February 2022 1:34 am

What this chart does not show is authorization limit relative to total budget. What Cobourg has always been very good at is comparing itself to places or organizations much bigger than itself. That’s how we got a Frink, and we’re always hearing about a boat lift and a CCC. And a cost of living so high new industry will never come here. But let’s spend more.

18 February 2022 9:48 am

With the high County purchase levels…who looks after/investigates potential fraud of any sort…like free vacation home use, free sports tickets, gift certificates, etc. etc. We don’t want to encourage anything like this in Cobourg with high spending levels. Checks & Balances are always needed in any system.

Reply to  cornbread
18 February 2022 4:19 pm

There are policies on this sort of thing normally. Usually only caught with whistleblowers reporting someone. Hard to catch otherwise. Investigations would usually be an outside agency or the Integrity Comissioner. It’s better to just ensure that purchasing policies are followed and you have an outside auditor complete audits on high ticket contracts. Once ever couple years. Federally you required so many quotes, different signatory so that one person didn’t control the process. You would have contract initiation, purchasing authority, approval authority(we called it section 34) and payment authority. So although someone had delegated authority there were still two more levels of review and all documentation had to be with the file or payment wasn’t made. That is a very simplified view of what occurs but their were checks and balances built into the process at each stage.

Last edited 11 months ago by Concerned
Reply to  Concerned
19 February 2022 5:30 pm

AUDITS Some Councilors have been trying to get their hands
on an Audit or complete set of Books at the same time for years now.
Any body not know the name of the Construction / Excavating Co that some how wins all the Bids and Tenders

Reply to  Sandpiper
19 February 2022 6:27 pm

I think everybody knows – Any body not know the name of the Construction / Excavating Co that some how wins all the Bids and Tenders”

And everybody should know they get the jobs with good prices and hard work!

Anybody suggesting otherwise should produce evidence of anything otherwise, not innuendo and smears.

Reply to  Sandpiper
19 February 2022 6:57 pm

You wrote: ” .Some Councilors have been trying to get their hands on an Audit or complete set of Books at the same time for years now….”

Which Councilors?
Have they asked the CAO & CFO to see “the books”

An audit is a service.
How do you “get your hands on” one?
The audited financial statements are presented to Council for approval each year. I have attended/watched this several times. There were never any questions of significance from Council members. Certainly none suggesting any improprieties.

As Ben asks in his comment below, what evidence do you have that a well known construction company is getting preferential treatment by the Town?

Last edited 11 months ago by Bryan
Reply to  Bryan
22 February 2022 8:17 am

Try asking some of your Council if they are not asking why not ??
There are several that have tried to no avail How about HOLD CO
I am sure you are aware of many attempts there over the yrs .

Reply to  Sandpiper
22 February 2022 9:00 am

Another non-answer – thanks Sandpiper

Reply to  Sandpiper
22 February 2022 9:41 am

Holdco publishes an annual report and its audited financial statements.

As Ben notes: “…Another non-answer….”

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Sandpiper
22 February 2022 10:16 am

Sandpiper you are gossip monger without facts. PRZT!

Reply to  Sandpiper
20 February 2022 12:40 pm

Would it be company that doesn’t gouge the Town with overages and does great work?

Reply to  Sandpiper
8 March 2022 5:57 pm

Did you actually read my post 🤦‍♂️

Reply to  cornbread
18 February 2022 7:53 pm

Sounds to me that department managers are already hancuffed with small spending limits and are micromanged by council.

Reply to  cornbread
19 February 2022 9:40 am

Maybe he or she needs to look into procuring more parking meters for Cobourg to insure more tourists and beach goers are paying through the nose to keep those anti tourist and beachgoers happy.

Pete M
Reply to  Conor
19 February 2022 11:55 am

Come on Conor, thats the job of the new economic development manager… parking fines industry