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Ottawa mayor's firm gets surge in city business


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CBC News

Mayor Larry O'Brien declined to comment on Calian's contracts with the city. (CBC)Calian Technologies has seen the value of its contracts with the City of Ottawa skyrocket since the company's founder was elected mayor in 2006.

Mayor Larry O'Brien still sits on the board of directors for Calian, which supplies technology staff to governments and corporations.

According to City of Ottawa records, the company received $1,837,175 in city contracts for technology staff in 2008 — up more than 10-fold from $167,250 in 2006.

City of Ottawa contracts awarded to Calian Technologies

Source: City of Ottawa Year Value

2006 $167,250

2007 $1,414,570

2008 $1,837,175

Total $3,418,995

The contracts range from $80,000 to $200,000 and don't have to be tendered because the company is on the city's "standing offer" list. Instead, they are awarded at the discretion of city staff. The mayor is not involved.

O'Brien originally agreed to speak to CBC News about this topic, but later changed his mind.

Alex Cullen, city councillor for Bay ward, said Friday the mayor declares a conflict-of-interest whenever the topic of Calian comes up at city hall. But he admitted the contracts have raised questions.

"Naturally, people want to make the connection with the mayor," he said. "One can't help but remark on the fact that Calian is doing a lot more business with the city than ever before."

Somerset Coun. Diane Holmes said the contracts are legal, but she also thinks the optics aren't very good.

"I think the mayor should refrain from having Calian approach the city for contracts," she said.


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