Tuesday, June 19, 2012

#LiquorLeaks reveals the "Ask Jay" memo

Ten days before he announced his resignation, British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch general manager Jay Chambers told employees in a memo that he would guide them through the coming months of uncertainty while private companies jockey to take over the taxpayer-owned company's warehousing and distribution.

Chambers even launched an email address to which curious employees could send him questions about the privatization.

Sources have told me post-privatization retirement was on Chambers's mind. (Chambers has not responded to several of my interview requests.) Now he is instead counting the days until his July 6 departure from LDB to start a new job as president of the Motor Vehicle Sales Authority of B.C., a B.C. Liberal-friendly, industry self-regulator.

The full memo is below. (The italicized emphasis is mine.)

Two items of note:
  • The list of key dates at the end of the memo shows the negotiated request for proposals' release date as March 30. It was actually published April 30. 
  • The body of Chambers's memo says that three companies would be shortlisted by July 20. In the timeline, it says "up to three." The NRFP documents says "up to the top three." On April 30, liquor minister Rich Coleman told reporters at the Legislature that the shortlist could be as short as one company. On May 8, I revealed in Business in Vancouver that one company, Exel Logistics, may have an advantage over the rest because of its intriguing connections to Coleman and the ruling B.C. Liberals.
Without further ado...

June 4, 2012  
Good afternoon,
As you know, the Provincial Government announced in its Budget speech that it would privatize the warehousing and distribution of beverage alcohol in British Columbia.  
Since this announcement, there has been extensive and ongoing media coverage about the government’s privatization plans. I appreciate that you will have many questions about how this decision may impact you and your colleagues.
We have a proud history of serving British Columbians for over 90 years and I often have opportunities to share stories about the long term dedication and commitment of LDB employees.  I am aware that uncertainty is stressful, so in the coming months, I will provide you with regular information updates about these privatization plans. 
Below you will find the timeline of the Request for Proposal (RFP) process. Some of these milestones have already passed. The next significant date is June 29 which is the RFP submission deadline. 
Currently, there are eight parties that have expressed an interest in submitting proposals for this  RFP — Centric Retail Logistics Inc., ContainerWorld Forwarding Services Inc., Dimex Distribution Corp., Exel Canada Ltd., GL Distribution, Green Light Distribution Services Inc., Kuehne + Nagel Ltd. and Schenker of Canada. The three shortlisted parties will be announced on or about July 20. 
It is not known how many of these interested parties will submit a formal proposal by the deadline. Once the RFP submissions are received, they will be reviewed by the RFP team and narrowed to a list of up to three qualified proponents by late July.  
I am sure you will have many questions as we move through this process. During this challenging time, I would like to invite you to send your questions to me at askjay@bcldb.com. These questions and their answers will be shared with all LDB employees on a regular basis.
Key Dates  Request for Proposal (RFP) Process
February 21   Provincial government announces distribution privatization plans
February 27   First meeting of RFP team
March 21        BCGEU signs Memorandum of Agreement with the government for post-privatization job security 
March 27        Victoria lawyer, economist and consultant George Macauley is appointed "Fairness Monitor" to oversee the procurement and evaluation process  
March 30        RFP is issued and posted on BC Bid website (http://www.bcbid.gov.bc.ca/open.dll/showDisplayDocument?sessionID=27492391&disID=22111058&docType=Tender&dis_version_nos=3&doc_search_by=Tend&docTypeQual=TN
May 9               Industry information session 
May 10             LDB’s RFP information session and warehouse tour of Vancouver Distribution Centre
June 29           Deadline for RFP submissions 
July 20            The provincial government announces RFP shortlist (up to three potential candidates) 
October 16     Announcement of successful proponent 
March 1/13     Agreement negotiated and signed with successful Proponent by March 1, 2013.

P.S.: As usual, I remind kind and loyal readers that I gladly accept envelopes containing credible documents addressed to me at the following addresses:

102 4th Ave. E., Vancouver, B.C. V5T 1G2 

The Tyee
PO Box 88484, Vancouver, B.C. V6A 4A7

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