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.
|Town of Cobourg||Northumberland County|
|Dept Directors||$5,000||$100,000 or $50,000 (Note 1)|
|Managers||$1,000||$25,000 or $10,000 (Note 1)|
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.
- Procurement Activity Quarterly Report (on County web site)
- County of Northumberland Procurement By-Law 2018-26 – see appendix D for table listing authorization limits
- Town of Cobourg Purchasing By-Law 016-2012 – see paragraph 4 for authorization limits
- KPMG Final Report on Organization
- Cobourg Administration – includes latest organization chart (unofficial)