Happy returns

At the end of June, Fred Platteel retired as the British Columbia Ambulance Service's chief executive officer. But that doesn't mean he won't still be drawing a paycheque from the provincial government. Back in October, Mr. Platteel received a directly awarded contract worth as much as $150,000 to undertake three major projects for the emergency and health services commission, which is responsible for the ambulance service.

In an interview, ambulance service communications specialist Kristy Hillen explained, "The reason that Fred was brought on was because of his extensive knowledge and experience and understanding of our organization and the partners we work with. And it would be challenging for someone new to step in and have that immediate knowledge."

But New Democrat critic Adrian Dix says hiring retired senior civil servants as consultants has become a troubling trend within the Campbell administration.

For example, Lee Doney, the emergency and health services commission's chief executive officer, retired as a provincial deputy minister in April 2005. But since then he too has done lucrative contract work for the Campbell administration.

"It continues to strike the public as strange these arrangements where people retire and come back in the same area they were working in for significant contracts," said Mr. Dix. "You don't want to lose expertise, I understand that." But the Vancouver-Kingsway legislator says he would have rather seen Mr. Platteel compete for his contract with other consultants.

The contract states Mr. Platteel will be paid a maximum of $50,000 between November 2007 and March 2008. But the commission retains the right to extend his work till March 2009, paying him up to $150,000. The following is a complete copy of the notice of intent for that contract.



Major ProjectS Advisor

ISSUED October 17, 2007

Notice is hereby given by the Emergency and Health Services Commission (EHSC) represented by the British Columbia Ambulance Service (BCAS) of its intent to contract with Fredinand Platteel to provide guidance and assist the Senior Executive Team (SET) of the BCAS on three major undertakings for the EHSC. The contract value will not exceed $50,000.00 for the term November 2007 to March 2008. The EHSC retains the option to extend the contract up to March 2009, in an amount not to exceed $150,000.00.

The Emergency Health Services Commission (EHSC), through the BCAS, provides emergency pre-hospital treatment and ambulance transportation for the province of British Columbia. The EHSC is responsible for emergency medical and health information services in BC. The EHSC requires guidance and assistance on three major undertakings that include:

* Finalizing a service plan for EHSC, including establishing appropriate performance measures.

* Working with the Fire Services Committee of the EHSC to assist in implementing the recommendations set out in the Cameron Report.

* Building a strategic assessment of collective agreement implications consistent and necessary to the achieving EHSC service plan and patient outcome and service delivery improvements.

BCAS has chosen not to solicit proposals as the unique combination of knowledge, skills and experience the selected contractor possesses is integral to the successful completion of these projects in a proficient and timely manner. Specifically the Contractor:

1. has extensive knowledge, experience and understanding of the BCAS, its organizational and governance structures, authorities and first responder services;

2. has extensive knowledge of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 873 and its relationship with the BCAS;

3. has extensive knowledge of the role and abilities of the First Responders, especially fire departments throughout the Province.

4. has an extensive background in management analysis and labour relations/negotiations;

5. has the required level of independence and objectivity deemed important;

6. is able to complete the projects in a timely manner without a prolonged learning period.

Vendors wishing to object to this decision to contract should submit a letter to Paul Norman email at paul.norman@gov.bc.ca or by facsimile at: (250) 953-3119 before 2:00 p.m. Pacific time on October 25, 2007, detailing specific reasons for their objection, including their knowledge, skills and experience that meet or exceed that of the selected contractor. Vendor ability to offer more relevant experience and services resulting in the same or better solutions at a lower cost in the same timeframe will be the key criterion with regard to consideration of vendor objections.

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