Park bear life

Earlier, we reported recently retired deputy minister Lee Doney would be collecting his pension while working on a 10-month, $200,000 contract for the premier's office. According to public accounts, government also transferred $111,469 to his company RLD Strategies Ltd. in fiscal 2004/05. And it looks like the firm is intending on doing even more business with the government. Back in November, aboriginal relations and reconciliation posted a notice on BC Bid that it was looking to establish a list of qualified contractors who can provide the ministry with third party advisory services.

Specifically, those contractors "will be responsible for liaising with key stakeholders, to develop successful strategies for gaining support for the new relationship," as well as advising "government on the viability of positions being taken with First Nations that affect interests, including the sectors of forestry, mining, oil and gas development, agriculture, local governments and other interested parties." And the contractors "will also work directly with First Nations and third parties to develop economic opportunities and partnerships."

Of course, the fact RLD Strategies has qualified to be on that list doesn't necessarily mean they'll be getting any contracts from government. But it also interesting to note that, in addition to being the past executive director of the British Columbia Treaties Commission, Mr. Doney also presently sits on Western Forest Products Inc.'s board of directors.

According to the government's request for proposal, "To help avoid real or apparent conflicts of interest that could undermine confidence in how the Province conducts its business, each Qualified Supplier should be prepared, if awarded a Contract, to be denied opportunities by the Province to pursue downstream business related in any manner at all to the work performed under that Contract." The following is the most relevant portion of that request.

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THIRD PARTY ADVISORS

The Province is pursuing a new relationship with BC First Nations to further enhance the cooperative development and management of resources and improve the social and economic condition of First Nations.

An important goal of the new relationship initiative is to create investment certainty for the Province and third parties, while facilitating reconciliation and relationship building with First Nations. Key stakeholders affected by this initiative include all the major economic interests whose business are based on utilization of Crown land or Crown approvals. In addition, there are many other interests in BC who will play an important role in building a new relationship with First Nations. The Contractor(s) will be responsible for liaising with key stakeholders, to develop successful strategies for gaining support for the new relationship and implementing it in a manner which can meet the interests of those groups.

The Contractor(s) will help develop and advise government on the viability of positions being taken with First Nations that affect interests, including the sectors of forestry, mining, oil and gas development, agriculture, local governments and other interested parties.

The Contractor(s) will also advise government on the engagement strategies, including timing, for consulting with key third parties. Consistent with the goals of the new relationship initiative to bring First Nations into the fabric of the economy of BC, the Contractor(s) will also work directly with First Nations and third parties to develop economic opportunities and partnerships.

The Contractor(s) will develop and advise government on strategies in support of this goal and, where appropriate, assist in the implementation of those strategies with First Nations and third parties.

Key Deliverables will include:

Development of draft engagement strategy for third party participation in the new relationship;

An implementation plan to ensure the successful engagement of third parties in the new relationship;

Monthly reports demonstrating progress and identification of emerging opportunities; and

As required, attendance at key meetings with government officials, third parties and First Nations to further the new relationship.

4 Comments

So what are friends for? If ordinary folks try to get work with this government they are out of luck. Still can't get over the guy shunted out of office over to UVic to do something and getting paid big bucks for it. any one going to be punching his time card? I suppose his pension benefits will continuie to accrue.
Obviously most of us have the wrong friends

The intricacies of Mr Doney's situation are beyond me. I think most people would agree that the tightening up on conflicts of interest that has occured over the past 15 or so years is desirable. However, if one interprets conflict of interest too tightly, one can effectively exclude qualified people in some instances.

At the working level I have seen bizarre decisions, such as people being denied an opportunity to teach a nite school course in matters related to their principal job, and thereby earn an additional few thousand dollars, on the grounds that it might look as though they were "profiting" from the work performed in their main job. Arguing that this is wages for additional work hours not profiteering on insider information is futile. When you're confronted with that kind of elastic reasoning, it's not hard to figure out what the arbitrariness is intended to accomplish. The idea is to make it look like Govt is tough on conflict of interest so that higher placed people can be awarded rather more liberal treatment and still the general public has the idea in mind that things are now pretty strict all over.

As far as collecting salary and pension at the same time, this is not allowed. So the trick has always been to bring people back on contract, not as employees. That approach is used to favour the favoured, and is awarded to only the best placed people, although I suppose there may be examples where it was done because the person in question was actually needed for some practical administrative reason. But those cases of actual necessity would be the exception, not the norm.

"As far as collecting salary and pension at the same time, this is not allowed. So the trick has always been to bring people back on contract, not as employees. That approach is used to favour the favoured, and is awarded to only the best placed people".

The real trick is to pay someone a generous severance package plus an exit consultation (ie free tax and legal advice) and then hire them back as a consultant for a day or two a week at an elevated fee. This way they the exit $$$, pension and ongoing residual without ever really having to do any more work.

don't we just love political games that end up costing us extra money? let's try not to forget next time a election looms

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