Wanted: executive director for the electoral boundary commission. Qualifications: "managing complex multi-million dollar projects or enterprises" - this according to an advertisement posted on BC Bid. But no mention is made of the successful applicant being non-partisan. That's somewhat curious. After all, our astute readers will remember the tragic episode (reported by The Vancouver Sun's Vaughn Palmer) wherein the citizens' assembly on electoral reform refused to hire future New Democrat MLA Claire Trevena as their communications director. The reason: she had been a senior member of the Green Party, which was advocating for proportional representation. So shouldn't the executive director for the boundary commission have to meet a similar standard of non-involvement when it comes to their past political background?
This was the question we posed to Betty-Ann Atherton, the acting managing of procurement support for the attorney general's ministry and the woman responsible for the contract. Her response: "To provide you with a complete answer, I have referred this question to the British Columbia Electoral Boundaries Commissioners. Their next meeting is on Wednesday January 25, 2006 after which I will provide a response to you on Thursday." Of course, this will likely present our dear friend Louise Burgart and her colleagues on the commission with an interesting dilemma: how can they require their executive director to be non-partisan when Ms. Burgart clearly is not? The following is a copy of the relevant portion of that contract posting.
B. Requirements and Response
1. SUMMARY OF THE REQUIREMENT
The British Columbia Electoral Boundaries Commission (BC-EBC) was appointed by the government in December 2005. Its mandate is to make recommendations for electoral boundaries under the current electoral system and under a Single Transferable Vote system. The Commission will seek community input through province wide consultation and submit an initial report to the Legislature by August 2007 and a final report by March 2008. The Commission will be located in Vancouver and will have up to 25 researchers, communications, technical and other staff.
The BC-EBC requires a Contractor from approximately February 2006 until February 2008 to be responsible for the planning, managing and monitoring of each phase and element of the BC-EBC's work.
2. ADDITIONAL DEFINITIONS
In addition to the RFP Definitions set out in paragraph 1 of Section A, throughout this Request for Proposal, the following definitions will apply:
"Commission" means an administrative entity appointed by an elected body to accomplish a particular objective within a limited timeframe;
"Personal Service Contract" means a contract with an individual to provide a specific service.
3. MINISTRY SITUATION/OVERVIEW
3.1 Division Responsibility
The Electoral Boundaries Commission is an independent commission appointed under the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act, as amended. Under the Act the BC-EBC is reconstituted following every second election to assess and make recommendations on constituency boundaries.
The BC-EBC liaises with the Finance and Administration Division of the Management Services Branch, Ministry of Attorney General on general administrative matters.
The mandate of the BC-EBC has been statutorily expanded and the timeframe for its deliberations extended to 26 months. This is to give the BC-EBC more time to consult and provide recommendations on 2 possible scenarios for elections boundaries for the next provincial election which is scheduled to be held on May 12, 2009.
Scenario 1 - Boundaries to be amended under the current first-past-the-post electoral system.
Scenario 2 - Boundaries to be amended if electoral reform meets thresholds of required support in a referendum on the single transferable vote system which will take place during the November 2008 municipal elections.
3.3 Project Scope
The purpose of the RFP is to contract with a successful Proponent who will be responsible for planning, managing and monitoring each phase and element of the BC-EBC's work. The scope of responsibility includes engaging operational staff; ensuring contracts are in place for required services; developing and monitoring budgets; organizing public hearings, public communications, media liaison, public education, analysis; and producing two formal published reports to the Legislature.
The attached Appendix C gives a general indication of the organizational functions of the BC-EBC.
The Contractor will be paid for services on submission and BC-EBC's approval of a monthly invoice (twelve (12) equal payments of the proposed annual fee).
Proponents should name specific individuals to provide the services described in this RFP who have specialization and/or specific knowledge of:
* Leading or managing a Commission or similar entity; and,
* Managing complex multi-million dollar projects or enterprises using project management tools and techniques including leadership, communication and team-building skills.
The above specialization and/or knowledge should have been gained through experience working for or contracting with a Commission or similar entity, and being the project manager on projects valued over one million dollars.
NOTE: The BC-EBC prefers individuals with a university degree in business or equivalent academic qualification.
NOTE: The BC-EBC strongly prefers that the individual named under this section be available for the duration of the Contract. Any changes to the named individual will require the prior, written approval of the BC-EBC.
The individual should have a minimum of five (5) years experience providing services of a similar nature. Services of a similar nature are defined as including the following elements:
a) Managing an independent Commission or similar entity;
b) Managing multiple projects simultaneously including accurately projecting expenditures and work effort and preparing progress and final reports;
c) Managing budgets and forecasts and exercising spending authority in accordance with appropriate Acts and policies;
d) Strategic and business planning and policy and procedure development;
e) Managing communications and media issues including advertising, website development and public education;
f) Liaising with government entities or agencies;
g) Planning, organizing and coordinating administrative, professional, and research staff within a public sector, legislative, policy oriented and operational environment;
h) Hiring and subsequently monitoring the performance of staff and/or contractors;
i) Managing Personal Service Contracts to ensure that the deliverables are met.