There’s a legal dust-up underway between the Village of Teslin and the business arm of the Teslin Tlingit Council.
In the tendering of a garbage-hauling contract, the First Nation alleges the village played dirty.
It’s asking for $127,000 in damages.
The lawsuit alleges, among other things, that a village councillor voted to award a waste-disposal contract to a company owned by a relative.
It all started last year, when the village began planning to convert its landfill into a transfer station, where garbage would be periodically collected and hauled to Whitehorse.
To provide the garbage bins and to haul the waste, the village enlisted the help of a Whitehorse-based company called General Waste Management, which is owned by the Teslin First Nation’s development corporation, Tle’nax T’awei Industrial Limited Partnership.
But this deal only lasted five months, because in March the village awarded a five-year garbage-hauling contract to a Teslin-based company, Deadman Creek Enterprises.
The lawsuit alleges the village “covertly” sole-sourced this contract without approaching General Waste. It notes the village has a policy of tendering any work worth more than $10,000.
The allegation a councillor was in a conflict-of-interest when voting to award the work to Deadman Creek is at odds with the minutes of the Teslin village council.
The lawsuit never mentions the councillor by name, but Councillor Stacey Hassard is the son of Robert Hassard, owner of Deadman Creek.
And Stacey Hassard abstained from the vote to award the garbage contract to Deadman Creek, according to the March 23 minutes.
However, Stacey Hassard appears to have voted in earlier decisions that led up to the fallout with General Waste.
On February 23, council decided to cancel its arrangement with General Waste to rent garbage bins for $500 per month. Instead, it sole-sourced two bins from Deadman Creek for $24,999.
The price is one penny shy of having to comply with the Yukon government’s tendering policy. The village needed to comply with the territory’s rules if it wanted to tap the federal gas-tax fund.
Stacey Hassard was present at this meeting. If he abstained during this vote, it’s not noted in the minutes.
Hassard refused to comment on the matter because it is before the courts.Mayor Robin Smarch could not be reached before press time.
The lawsuit also alleges the village went bid-shopping.
When Deadman Creek was asked to provide a quote for its services, it offered, in a February 16 letter, to haul garbage for $750 per load. But, in the end, the company matched the lower price on offer from General Waste, of $670 per load.
General Waste insists it had another good reason to expect the contract to be tendered. It had asked for the work to be sole-sourced to them, but was told by village representatives that this “would cause problems with other contractors,” the lawsuit states.
Council knew its decision on March 23 to sole-source the work to Deadman Enterprises would be controversial. The minutes of that meeting note that the village’s chief administrator cautioned council “to consider any political ramifications before they make their decision.”
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