Patronage still finds a way

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We might well wonder: just how deep does the culture of patronage run in political bureaus?

Cynical members of the public shrug and take it for granted. More troubling is the thought that managers of government departments and agencies also take it for granted that the way to go is hire cronies.

The latest eye-opener is the firing of the CEO of Enterprise Cape Breton Corp., John Lynn. This comes after a report that he had hired four people closely tied to the federal Conservatives or the provincial PCs. The report by Mario Dion found that Lynn awarded the jobs with no indication that a formal hiring process or merit was involved.

That’s a breach of ethics blatant enough that the federal Conservatives demanded dismissal of the CEO, who had already been under suspension pending a formal decision. Here’s a great example of how justice must not only be done, but must also be seen to be done ­– particularly when the wrongdoing could be deemed a reflection on your party.

Dion’s report did say the appointments, though not up to standards, did not affect the ability of Enterprise Cape Breton to carry out its mandate. Hmm. When that mandate is promoting development in the region, what about the potential to favour companies with Conservative ties?

This is a discouraging example of how bureaucracy unfolds with a lack of rules.

On the provincial level, we had the instance of the newly elected Liberals, with Stephen McNeil hiring former staffer and Liberal candidate Glennie Langille to head the office of protocol, without a job competition. The premier has yet to acknowledge the transgression of political responsibility.

This stuff has got to stop. We would think those who continue pork-barrelling would be embarrassed.

In Lynn’s case – one man is fired? That would suggest only one person was responsible for the questionable appointments.

Obviously there’s a need for more involvement – with a mandatory process – in such hirings to ensure transparency.

Organizations: Enterprise Cape Breton

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