Bruce Marshall, a Brampton resident, has launched an integrity complaint against Mayor Patrick Brown and 10 city councillors.
Marshall filed a complaint with Brampton’s Integrity Commissioner Muneeza Sheikh alleging that every single member of Brampton City Council breached the code of conduct by awarding a $150,000 sole-source contract to a digital online organization with close ties to several councillors.
The organization, Brampton Focus Community Media Inc., was started by Paul Vicente who is now a Brampton Regional Councillor.
“In the digital economy, there are dozens of reputable firms and individuals who can provide value for money to the taxpayers of Brampton for the services purchased by City Council on July 10, 2019. Council has a fiduciary duty to be prudent managers of taxpayers money in providing services. Most homeowners will compare prices and quality when making a purchase of just $150. Why has Brampton City Council not shown the same prudence and common sense in spending $150,000,” said Marshall in his memo to Sheikh.
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The City of Brampton Purchasing By-law requires that contracts over $100,000 be awarded only after a Request By Proposal process. However, city council allegedly did not follow those rules in awarding this contract to Brampton Focus.
“Councillors knew or ought to have known that it was contrary to the spirit and letter of the City of Brampton’s purchasing by-law. At the city council meeting of May 8, 2019 none of the city councillors moved a motion to waive or suspend the purchasing by-law rules and invoke the conditions as outlined in Schedule C of Purchasing By-law 19-2018. The purchasing by-law requires a request for Proposal process be undertaken for purchases of $100,000 or greater,” said Marshall.
According to Marshall, Brampton Focus provided in-kind gifts of advertorial interviews as part of their lobbying effort.
Marshall added, “Brampton City Councillors were on a path of positive reform until they gave a contract to their friends without a competitive bidding process. I maintain that the organization provided free social media advertorial services to councillors as an inducement to vote for the contract and the city councillors rewarded them.”
Each councillor in receipt of advertorial coverage has yet to register the gift on the City of Brampton’s Gift registry as of the date of this complaint despite receiving complimentary video services worth hundreds of dollars.
“These undeclared gifts also mean that councillors may be in breach of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. I will allow you to draw your own conclusions after seeing the evidence,” said Marshall.
Additionally, Marshall alleges that the members of Brampton Focus lobbied without registering as a lobbyist, lobbied without registering the dates and times of contact, and provided online coverage as an inducement to secure the contract.
“During the course of the preparation of reports by city staff, members of Brampton Focus Community Media Inc continued an intense lobbying effort targetting each of the above-mentioned members of council without registering as lobbyists and without registering their multiple contacts with members of council. This is contrary to the lobbying by-law 149-2015,” said Marshall.
Marshall states that he wants the integrity commissioner to investigate this breach of the code of conduct. He believes she should recommend that councillors be reprimanded and that the purchasing process be restarted with an RFP process devoid of political interference by councillors, who have received a benefit for their vote.
Marshall has identified the city clerk, the chief administration officer and the city solicitor as witnesses in his complaint.
Bruce Marshall is a longtime Brampton resident, firefighter and radio host. He was a candidate for Regional Councillor in the 2018 municipal election in ward 7 and 8. He has been receiving wide coverage recently after Sara Singh, the NDP MPP for Brampton Centre and the party’s current deputy leader, accused him of sexual harassment dating back to last year.