EU Bidders Bail Over US Bias in Canada’s Fighter Jet RFP, NY Comptroller to Audit Tesla, and NZ Councillor Denies Bias

By Paul Emanuelli

This week’s newsreel features our top ten list of global stories from the world of government procurement, including the latest reports on bias and interference, bid protests, and contract disputes.

1. EU Bidders Bail Over US Bias in Canada’s Fighter Jet RFP

The UK joined France in pulling out of Canada’s $19 billion fighter jet competition over concerns that the RFP process is biased towards the US-built F-35 stealth fighter. The story is just one in a long saga of controversies over Canada’s long-delayed and highly criticized fighter jet procurement program.

2. New York Comptroller to Audit Tesla Deal

The New York State Comptroller’s office announced that it would be auditing a $750 million subsidy that reportedly cost taxpayers $1 million per job at a new Tesla solar factory in upstate New York. The report is the latest chapter in Governor Cuomo’s ongoing “Buffalo Billion” scandal involving bid-rigging and misspending on state projects.

3. New Zealand Councillor Denies Bias in Recycling Bids

An Invercargill councillor recently dismissed conflict of interest and bias allegations made by lawyers for an incumbent recycling services contractor. The incumbent demanded that the councillor be removed from the process for allegedly making critical remarks about the incumbent’s operations and leaking the incumbent’s confidential business information.

4. Australia’s New Regs Complicate Waste Procurement

A recent story out of Australia confirmed that municipal waste services procurements will become increasingly complex in the wake of the government’s newly implemented waste levy and container refund schemes.

5. Canada Accused of Playing Politics in Shipyard Tender

Within days of being sued over allegedly biased specifications in its multi-billion-dollar shipyard procurement, Canada’s federal government agreed to amend some of the challenged RFP specifications. However, the government held firm on its prior experience requirements, notwithstanding an Ontario firm’s claims that the RFP gave unfair preferences to its Quebec rival.

6. Ireland Burns Millions on Flawed Consulting Advice

In a recent report, Ireland’s finance minister admitted to spending millions on what turned out to be flawed consulting advice on the government’s broadband procurement initiative. The story characterized the €25 million paid to large consulting firms as “an unmitigated disaster” due to the increased costs that resulted after implementing the recommended “cost saving” strategies.

7. Louisiana Declares Emergency Over Bid Protest 

The Louisiana state government declared a procurement emergency to avoid disruptions of healthcare coverage to 1.5 million people after the state’s procurement office stopped a procurement process over a bid protest.

8. Jamaica Plans to Penalize Bad Contractors

Jamaica’s PM’s recently announced a new policy aimed at penalizing contractors for late or substandard work. As the report states, the new policy forms an element of the government’s broader plan to improve transportation infrastructure on the island.

9. UK Redoubles Prompt Payment Plan

As part of its ongoing efforts to ensure that government contractors are not subject to unnecessary payment delays, the UK government recently pledged to pay its contractor within 30 days of billing. The story states that the UK lags behind countries, including Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, in its prompt payment reforms.

10. Alberta’s IT Cuts Put Systems in Peril

A recent report claims that cuts to IT contracts are putting Alberta provincial systems at risk of crashing, while the government’s “betrayal” is cutting small local contractors out of future government work. The story alleges that the government ignored a meeting request made by a group of small local contractors, who claim to be inordinately impacted by the cuts while large out-of-province firms enjoy growing profits thanks to the provincial government’s sole-source awards.

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