Back in February 2004, The Vancouver Sun's Vaughn Palmer reported on the curious case of Bill Gipps. Five months earlier, Mr. Gipps's one-man company GR8 IDEAS Management Consulting Services Ltd. had been directly awarded an 18-month contract with the provincial government's alternative service delivery secreteriat, paying him $1,200 a day to a maximum of $550,000. At the time, Mr. Palmer noted Auditor General Wayne Strelioff's view that such awards are "contrary to government's principle of fair and open competition." And it seems the secretariat has since polished up its contracting policies. Last week, the office posted a request for proposal on BC Bid seeking qualified contractors to work as alternative service delivery solution consultants - the same post occupied by Mr. Gipps. The government has declined to inform prospective contractors what projects they will be working on due to confidentiality concerns. Nor have they said whether successful applicants will be compensated as handsomely as Mr. Gipps (although, in fairness, no one has yet asked).

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