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Nunn report

Nunn report

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Nova Scotia’s conflict of interest commissioner, Justice Merlin Nunn, says a tender recently awarded to the premier’s brother was done above board.

Nunn released his decision on Thursday, Jan. 9.
Nova Scotia’s conflict of interest commissioner, Justice Merlin Nunn, says a tender recently awarded to the premier’s brother was done above board.

Nunn released his decision on Thursday, Jan. 9.

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Published by: The Chronicle Herald on Jan 10, 2014
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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04/01/2014

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January 9, 2014 Ms. Dana C. MacDonald Department of Economic & Rural Development & Tourism 6176 Young Street Suite 200 Halifax, NS B3K 2A6 Dear Ms. MacDonald:
RE: Request for Proposals #60146750
Thank you for your letter and enclosures regarding this matter. The enclosures included: (a) Declaration of Contract Intentions (b) Proponent Sustainability Assessment (c) Request for Proposal
 – 
 October 29, 2013 signed by Christopher McNeil (d) The 18 page Request for Proposal (e) Sustainability submitted by Seventeen Consulting Services (f) Proposal submitted by Seventeen Consulting Services
 – 
 Christopher McNeil with Appendices You have advised me that the tender call was put out on October 12, 2013 with all proposals to  be filed on or before October 30, 2013. The Seventeen Consulting Services
 – 
 Christopher McNeil Proposal was dated October 29, 2013, within the period the tender call was open. Of these documents, Section 5 of the 18 page Request for Proposal provides for the Proposal Evaluation, including an Evaluation Team for decision making and setting out the Evaluation Process. This letter indicates:
“The Proposal will be evaluated using the following process:
 Stage 1: Proposal will be reviewed to determine compliance with all mandatory criteria identified in section 5.3
 
Stage 2: Proposals that meet all mandatory criteria will be evaluated and scored using the evaluation criteria and assigned weights set out in the table in section 5.4. Proposals that do not meet the qualifying score for subtotal A set out in section 5.4 will be given no further consideration.
 Following reading all the enclosures, I telephoned you on January 6, 2014, particularly asking you to provide more information concerning the actual processes used which you provided me later in the day. You indicated that the evaluation team consisted of two Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal employees; one from Port Hawkesbury, a Director of Vehicle Compliance and one from Fall River, a Training and Outreach Officer and that they were briefed on the process by a Senior Procurement Consultant, including recording requirements, summary score requirements and requirements should a debrief be requested prior to the evaluation. You also indicated that the tender proposal was open to the public at large and only three  proposals were received, that of Seventeen Consulting Services
 – 
 Christopher McNeil and two others. The evaluation process was designed so as not to consider the cost portion of the proposals until the proposal scored a minimum of 70% on the technical requirements. The resultant scores, determined by the team using and applying the given standards, indicated that the Seventeen Consulting Services- Christopher McNeil proposal was substantially higher than that of the other two and was above the minimum score required. The score of each of the other two did not meet the minimum required score, so cost was not evaluated for these two. It is not appropriate for me to indicate the real scores as they are not typically published but they were revealed to me for my considerations. I have no evidence that any Cabinet Minister was involved in processing the actual tender  proposals or making any evaluations or selecting the successful proposal nor was any politician. This inquiry by you seems to have arisen from a news report indicating there may be a conflict of
interest because Christopher McNeil is a brother of Nova Scotia’s Premier.
 Given that information, there could certainly be a perception of a conflict of interest but  perception is not always reality. Based upon the total information provided to me, the following facts established the basis of a sound determination of the conflict of interest question: (a) the proposal was a public tender, open to anybody; (b) only three tenders were submitted, one being that of the Seventeen Consulting Services
 – 
 Christopher McNeil; (c) an Evaluation Team was created to review the tenders and score each one; (d) the process of scoring was set out in the Request for Proposal documents;

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