Coun. James Coleridge wants White Rock’s civic purchasing policy changed after staff awarded a merchandising contract to a member of the city’s 50th anniversary committee.
In November, leisure services staff awarded Duson Promotional Services, owned by Rene Duson, a contract to produce mugs, trinkets and clothing bearing the city’s 50th Anniversary logo.
Duson is a member of the committee staging events for the city’s birthday celebrations this year.
Duson paid $1,250 for the exclusive right to use the city’s anniversary logo on merchandise he’ll sell to businesses around the city, including Coffee with Attitude and White Rock Travel. He will keep all profits.
Leisure services manager Rita Clarkson said Duson’s offer was one of three submitted. She said the two rejected did not offer to pay to use the logo.
City policy does not forbid awarding contracts to committee members.
“It may not have broken any rules, but it just doesn’t look or feel right,” White Rock Coun. Coleridge said.
“I don’t think it’s right when people sitting on city committeees apply for contracts concerning those committees.”
Coleridge will raise the issue at council.
Duson said he got involved because he’s passionate about promoting the city.
“It’s not about money. It’s about civic pride,” he said.
He said scarves and hats will retail for $18. He would not say how much he expects to profit selling the city-endorsed gear.
“If I broke even, that would be nice,” he added.
Mayor Judy Forster, chair of the anniversary committee, sees nothing wrong with the deal between Duson and the city.
“He went through all the proper channels,” Forster said.
“It’s all above board.”
City manager Peggy Clark said staff made the decision independent of the 50th anniversary committee.
“The committee does not award contracts the city awards contracts,” Clark said.
The $1,250 Duson paid the city will help fund the birthday celebrations. The city paid $700 to have the logo designed.