Ignoring the threat of legal action from Mitel Networks, city council voted yesterday to carry on with negotiations for a telecommunications contract worth up to $7 million.
The contract for voice-over-Internet telephone services was awarded to Bell/Cisco, but Mitel, which also submitted a bid, insisted the bidding process for the contract was unfair.
Mitel claims that Bell/Cisco had an advantage in its bid because it was privy to important information relating to current network that was not made available to other bidders.
On Tuesday, both Mitel and Nortel asked the city’s corporate services committee to withdraw the contract offer from Bell/Cisco and restart the bidding process.
Following the advice of city staff, the committee voted to move forward in awarding that contract.
At the council meeting yesterday, College Ward Coun. Rick Chiarelli attempted to have the process restarted, but that motion failed by a vote of 16-5.
“We have an insistence by two of our best local companies that are convinced they were not subject and privy to the same information as the successful bidder,” he said.
However, Peter Woods, the fairness commissioner on this project, said that information was available to Mitel if they had asked, but the city had no obligation to come forward to Mitel with the information.
“There is no way that staff could know what information a bidder needs in order to put a proposal in,” he said.
Bay Ward Coun. Alex Cullen argued that the concern from Mitel and Nortel could be characterized as “bid repair.”