Dave Hodgson, the mayor of Bedford allocated an estimated £2.5million for the Allhallows car park regeneration without consulting councillors.
The mayor, who is allowed to make some key decisions on his own as part of his role, approved the appointment of Makers Construction for the refurbishment of the multistorey car park.
The documents related to the decision said that there was no need to allow other firms to tender for the work as the amount is the below legally required thresholds.
Mr Hodgson said: “For me this decision was about the timing.
“With an executive decision it can be called in so there is a check there, we need to get on because the building has some issues and we need to get them fixed.
“It is really good news that we are spending £6million on transforming Allhallows car park.”
He added: “Allhallows is something that people have been complaining about for decades, there are some issues about making sure that the contractor we employ knows what they are doing, so we are using the same one that did Lurke Street.
“It has been in the forward plan for three months and when it came to it we just wanted to do it as quickly as possible.”
But Conservative councillor Stephen Moon claimed that a tender process would have been better.
He said: “The Conservative group is concerned about the council’s increasing habit of placing contracts without tendering. This is an example where good planning would have allowed a longer period for consideration of the merits of the contract and proper consideration of the likely cost, which at the moment has been given no limit, merely an estimation.
“We are strongly of the view that the decision should not be taken without proper consideration by the members in the appropriate committees.”