Ottawa could save at least $10 million this year just by changing some of its shopping habits, according to consultants hired to help find $100 million in efficiencies at city hall.

In the first of 12 quarterly status reports to be made over three years, Partners in Procurement Inc. consultants have made recommendations that city manager Kent Kirkpatrick said yesterday targets the way the city procures goods and services.

The purchasing report identifies paying suppliers more quickly to take advantage of discounts; encouraging discounts for longer-term contracts; homogenizing city equipment, such as vehicles, to enable larger, bulk purchases and using new contracting techniques that invite “best and final” offers, for example.


Kirkpatrick said there are three other areas that future reports will also examine for savings, with a goal of reaching $100 million in savings over three years: productivity ($35 million), technology investments ($15 million) and management of city assets, such as facilities ($15 million).

Kirkpatrick called the $100-million benchmark “a very ambitious target to put in front of staff.”
Mayor Larry O’Brien said he was pleased to finally see some savings that could be coming forward.

“Darn right, it’s aggressive,” O’Brien said of the $100-million target. “(Staff) are going to have to work hard and be creative and work in a focused manner to achieve these.”

But Ottawa and District Labour Council president Sean McKenny was skeptical the savings could be found without damaging service levels for city programs.

“How could it not hurt services? The community is strapped as it is.” he said.