Tuesday, March 31, 2009

You think it's easy to find that many Conservatives?

The auditor general has rapped the government's knuckles over its "bungling" of the appointments process to important boards, tribunals and what not:

Bungled communication and long delays hamper government appointments to multibillion-dollar commissions, boards and tribunals, says the auditor general.

"Poor communication shows a lack of respect for the individuals involved," Sheila Fraser said Tuesday in a report to Parliament.

"These are important positions, and the problems we identified could discourage people from accepting them."

Twenty-one of 45 senior Crown corporation officials interviewed described major information lapses.

"Fifteen described the process as a 'black box' or a 'black hole'," Fraser said. "Two of those informed us that they learned of their appointments through the media.

"For reappointments of directors, 16 of 41 Crown corporations indicated that incumbent directors were notified of their reappointments only after their terms had expired.

"Chairs and CEOs of three Crown corporations told us of instances where directors learned at a board meeting that they had been replaced days earlier."
Is it that hard these days to find competent Conservative partisans to take these patronage plums. Even if you're willing to overlook the competent part?

Hey, you know what would be great to address this situation? How about some kind of Public Appointments Commission to set merit-based requirements for appointments to government boards, commissions, and agencies, to ensure that competitions for posts are widely publicized
and fairly conducted.

Wait, where have I heard that before? Oh, yeah, the 2006 Conservative Party election platform.

Too bad that, instead of following through on their promise, they tried to stick a die hard Conservative partisan loyalist into a post supposedly designed to de-politicize the appointments process. And took their ball and went home pouting with the opposition said no.

I'm sure Gwyn Morgan could have found Conservative loyalists to fill every one of these vacant posts the AG is complaining about.

Instead, the Harperites seem to be directing more effort towards keeping the Auditor General off the trail. Remember when they loved you, Sheila? Don't worry. It's not personal.

"Officials of the Privy Council Office have expressed their view that aspects of our audit report go beyond the auditor general's mandate and encroach on the exercise of discretion by ministers and (the cabinet)," Fraser said.

"We are satisfied that the findings in our report fall entirely within the mandate of the auditor general."

Well, the PCO is right on one thing: ministers do have the discretion to be totally incompetent.

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