Pitt Meadows mayor gives up insurance contract

Sharpe’s agency no longer insures city fleet

A company owned by Pitt Meadows Mayor Don MacLean decided not to renew its contract to insure the city’s vehicle fleet.

The City of Pitt Meadows confirmed Monday that Don MacLean’s business – Sharpe’s Agency Ltd. – chose not to continue the contract for another year this past summer.

Sharpe’s Insurance won the latest contract to insure 32 municipal vehicles, including pickup trucks, backhoes, bobcats and fire engines, in 2009.

Since the contract totalled more than $25,000, this year was the first time the mayor’s business had to be identified in a city financial statement – to the surprise of several councillors, who claimed in June they were unaware of the agreement.

“The contract came up for renewal and they decided not to pursue that. It’s their call,” said city chief administrative officer Jake Rudolph.

The contract in 2009 was for two years, plus an option for an additional year.

The city insures its fleet from Aug. 1 to July 31.

The city received a letter from Sharpe’s Agency, indicating it would not seek contract renewal, on July 22.

Sharpe’s Agency, which was previously owned by former mayor Danny Sharpe, has done business with the city since 1974.

In the past, the contract alternated between Sharpe’s and Johnston Meier Insurance. But in 2009, the city decided to formalize the way it obtained insurance by inviting proposals.

Three agencies responded to the request for proposals, including Sharpe’s, Johnston Meier and Meier & Company Insurance.

A staff committee picked the best bidder according to set criteria that included experience, the availability of on-site service, a willingness to provide short-term credit and a familiarity with the city’s vehicle fleet.

MacLean, however, failed to publicly disclose that his business was insuring the city’s vehicle fleet.

At the time, he said he was unaware of a section of the B.C. Community Charter that requires council members to disclose any contracts they enter into with the city “as soon as reasonably practicable at a council meeting that is open to the public.”

Section 168 also requires any contracts with council members to be listed in a report, that includes a general description of their nature, at least once a year.

As well, civic politicians take an oath of office that requires them to disclose any direct or indirect pecuniary interests.

MacLean would not comment further on why Sharpe’s Agency decided not to renew its contract with the city.

“We are going no further with this,” he said.

Meier & Company Insurance Agencies (Mission) Ltd. now insures the city fleet.