IMH was slandered to the media by an individual within the city. They formed a company to compete alongside 16 other companies for their jobs. In their bid they had to disclose and conflicts and advantages. This would have put them at a disadvantage. Unfortunately the other 16 companies did not bid and therefore IMH pulled their bid before it was opened. The audit done, was released and as most of us expected it showed no wrong doing. The old IMH had the same anti-development and anti-growth attitude that the city has. The new IMH taken over a couple years ago have the opposite attitude. This created tension in the city when they put the city to task and found ways get businesses in and get development going. Privatizing them would save the city a pile of money and allow IMH to avoid the red tape and objections from within the city that they currently have deal with as a city department and city employees. Before another RFP is created, I believe they should find out why the last one was so undesirable to other firms and if Orka is the only bidder again, it should be dropped again.
Invest Medicine Hat moving from in-house to a private enterprise was communicated out as the go forward plan from its onset. Moving outside of city hall gives them opportunities to access different funding grants etc not available while in-house. A fair and transparent approach to accomplishing this task is necessary.
So right now I have never hidden my feelings on this organization and primarily because I know all the players and I know what they are doing and what they’re not doing. I do believe this needs to be in-house but not at the level that they’re at they need to be responsible to Council with a very clear KPI‘s. The employees need to be experts and economic development and potentially land development but they should not have unilateral decision making.
I believe the new council needs to thoroughly review this entire situation prior to moving forward in any direction.
I believe IMH should be dissolved and go to the private sector with a caveat that the city appoints someone to deal specifically with the private sector group to move things along at a rapid pace. To much red tape now.
Invest Medicine Hat started as a private sector consulting group. In 2019, IMH was brought into the city fold. At that time, council indicated that this was a short term arrangement to try to figure out what the role of IMH should be. Taking it private was always the goal. The RFP was poorly handled, with tight timelines, poor advertisement, and changes to the standard contract wording. Sending it back to the private sector should be the goal, with clear targets and assessment criteria.