JN: Process to access these funds – your involvement? / SM: “My involvement is services contract and hiring personnel.”
JN: are you assigned to specific Senators? / SM: Two HR personnel, split the responsibility. One responsible for last names A-L, and other responsible M-Z
JN: Let’s talk about service contracts. Take us through request process
SM: When senator wants to retain services of contractor, submit request to HR “Request for Services Contract” form, so this request should contain all info related to contract, services rendered, start/end date, amount to be paid, details of services, signed by senator. When request received, it’s stamped, given to me to be validated, reviewed, approved and processed.
JN: So what do you do when you rec’d request?
SM: Look at info, assess it, validate it, look at description of services, nature of services to be rendered, the amount to be paid, and if the info looks complete and I will approve the request and proceed with an agreement.
JN: You say you assess and validate the info. When it comes to name of contractor, do you validate the name?
SM: I don’t validate this information. This is at the discretion of the contractor ... simply check that the name is there.
JN: How you assess services to be rendered?
SM: I look at nature of the services. It’s whole of the services – the description – I compare it to be the fee to be paid. Speech writing, research, editing and other related to parliamentary work.
JN: Do you look at the services and if it’s something that Parliament will pay for?
JN: You look at max $ request, how do you assess?
SM: Usually I look at the length. For example, if it says only ‘research’ for one month, and the amount is $10k, here I have to ask more question. I ask the Senator to provide more info than this. If it says ‘research and speech writing’ for a period for 10 months, amount for $5k, I’ll approve the request. It depends on info as a whole.
JN: Do you have a general knowledge of what amounts is reasonable?
JN: do you expect that when Senator submits contract that it’s true.
SM: I expect it as services described
JN: If you see it as problematic what do you do?
SM: If it’s not clear or need more info, I’ll speak with senator’s office, or I’ll bring it to higher level in directorate?JN: What makes you speak with senator or go higher up?
SM: If it’s just missing info or more clarification, I request it from the senator and don’t bring it high up. If I don’t have this info, or if it’s something that’s red flag, I’ll bring it up.
JN: if it's completeness of the form you go to senator? SM: Yes. / JN: if it’s substance of the form, you elevate it up? Yes
JN: So what’s next? SM: I approve it and someone would prepare the agreement. Still in HR.
SM: If request for services seems OK, SM approves it and someone else in HR approves it. Then service agreement drawn up, and sent to contractor for signature. Contracts must specify max amount -- when request is approved finance has to approve that funds are available.
JN: Who’s responsible to make sure that the services agreed to were provided/complete?
SM: The Senator. The Senator signs off in the end.
Now starting to talk about contracts with Maple Ridge Media/Ottawa ICF (Gerald Donohue contracts)
Now looking at request for services contract. First contract $10K lump sum to Maple Ridge Media. Contract was for editorial, writing services
Page 9 – Melanie Vos (later changes name to Melanie Mercer), Duffy’s assistant – email from March 23, 2009. E-mail writes: “Here are three Request for Services Contract Forms…”
SM says she wouldn't have received Request for Services before this.
Page 7 – This is the Request for Services Contract, stamped March 25, 2009. Gerald Donohue, Maple Ridge Media; editorial services; with start and end date (Feb. 23, 2009 to March 31, 2009) – end of that fiscal year.
Page 8 – Not hourly or daily rate but lump sum of $10,000. Delegation of authority, must be signed by Senator.
JM: How did you validate? SM: The request was approved and services contract was prepared.
Re: The SEN-R8 number at the bottom) Each contract has a serial number like this. The last three numbers will change
Page 5 – it’s a Memorandum written by you, March 31, 2009, to Maple Ridge Media and Gerald Donohue.
JM: What the purpose of this memo?
SM: To read the services contract agreement, sign each page, and fill out T1204 form. (T1204 requested by finance for tax purposes). Sign the “Statement of Account” form; once signed bring it to finance. Conflict of Interest code – must read and raise issue with law clerk if there are any questions.
Page 4 - Fax from March 31, 2009. Statement of Account, filled out by Maple Ridge Media and faxed back.
Page 2 – invoice for $10,000 – dated March 18, 2009
JM: This pre-dates the services contract? / SM: Yes
Tab 2 – Gov’t of Canada cheque dated April 22, 2009 for $10,500.
Back to Tab 1 – Page 7: Says description of services: “editorial services and writing services”
JM: If it says to include “make up services” for Senator, would you have included that?
JM: Had it said in the description of services “make up services”