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Competitive process skipped to hire technology consultant for BC premier

The British Columbia government has awarded a one-year, $198,000 contract to a new president of the Premier's Technology Council without holding a competitive process.

The recipient, Louise Turner, was to start on June 9 heading the council chaired by Premier Christy Clark, according to a notice on the government's BC Bid procurement website.

"For $200,000 a year you like to think you're getting the best person for the job," said John Horgan, the NDP's house leader. "You don't get that with direct awards."

The government's policy is to hold a competitive process for any contract over $25,000, though direct awards can be given if the purchaser can prove only one possible vendor is qualified or available.

Started in 2001 by former Premier Gordon Campbell, the council's mandate is to provide advice to the premier on "all technology-related issues facing British Columbia and its citizens." Turner's new duties include organizing three or four meetings a year, preparing reports, consulting with technology council members and with the broader technology community.

She was "uniquely qualified", according to the BC Bid notice. Her skills, experience and expertise included: "proven success in strategic thinking and sound public policy development"; "experienced in deal negotiations [and] corporate strategy development"; and "understanding of BC business environment as well as unique insights from both a national and international public policy perspective."

It also noted "the Vendor is immediately available to focus resources on this time sensitive task."

A spokesperson for the Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Ministry took questions about the appointment, but didn't respond by posting time.

Nor did Turner respond to interview requests submitted through the ministry and through her consulting business website.

Turner's biography on the website for York House School, the Vancouver private girls' institution where she's a governor, says she is an "executive consultant specializing in the creation of strategic public policy for national and provincial governments" and consults with high technology companies. She has worked as director of business development for start ups Abatis Network Systems and PolarBlue Systems.

The website also says she and husband Paul Terry have a son, Matthew, in grade six at St. George's.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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