The Opinion Page
News and comments about the issues facing today's SCM and Inventory Management professionals.
The following article appeared on today's news service on Sympatico. It discusses the report of Canada's Auditor General Shiela Fraser's investigation into the actions of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner in Ottawa. The Integrity Commissioner is the person who is supposed to act as the champion of ethical behaviour on a federal level (Canada-wide). You may be excused if you are tempted, after reading this, to throw up your hands in resignation. I know that I almost did. Thank goodness for the Shiela Frasers of this world - the pit bulls who have to watch over the watch dogs.
I ask myself:
- How can this person go so far off the rails?
- What Vice President of HR approved her hire?
- Who recommended this person for this job?
- Did she falsify her credentials?
- Will the Federal Government sue this person for breach of contract?
And a thousand other questions.
Dozens and hundreds of examples of similar incompetence at senior levels have been well-publicized lately. It takes enormous resources to root out these toxic individuals - frequently at taxpayers' expense. We need to determine the root causes. As we all know, it is cheapest to solve the problem at its source.
For now, read on - and bite on a bullet while you do.
The content of the article is printed below.
Former Integrity Watchdog failed to do job, AG finds
The woman appointed to act as an advocate for public sector whistleblowers not only failed to do her job, she herself engaged in "inappropriate conduct" with her own staff, the auditor general says in a scathing report.
Auditor General Sheila Fraser says Public Sector Integrity Commissioner Christiane Ouimet failed to follow up properly on more than 170 allegations of wrongdoing in the public service brought forward since her position was created in 2007.
initializeArticleBodyFontSize() In fact, the report finds Ouimet's office did not find a single case of wrongdoing among the 170 complaints, and launched only three official investigations.
The complaints included the case of military veteran Sean Bruyea, who has since received an apology from the federal government for the way bureaucrats handled his file.
The report alleges Ouimet, the country's first federal public sector integrity commissioner, didn't implement procedures for investigating cases, and dismissed disclosures of wrongdoing without proper investigation.
"In our view, a more thorough approach to these files was warranted before decisions to refuse to investigate, or to dismiss, these disclosures and complaints could be reached," the report concluded.
What's more, Ouimet created a toxic atmosphere within her office, berating and swearing at staff, and even trying to smear the character of an employee who Ouimet believed had complained about her to the Auditor General.
At least 18 of the 22 employees in Ouimet's office left over one year -- a fact that appears to counter Ouimet's mandate of protecting public servants from reprisals, the report suggests.
"Many of these former PSIC employees told us that they left as a result of the Commissioner's conduct and the resulting work environment," the report notes.
"Some of these former employees also told us that they experienced health problems as a result of their interactions with the Commissioner. Some very negative terms were used by both current and former employees to describe the work environment at PSIC."
Ouimet has responded that complaints from her employees that she treated with disrespect were exaggerated. She said the employees in question were angry at being denied promotions promised by previous managers.
Ouimet suddenly resigned in October, in the midst of Fraser's investigation, which was prompted by three internal complaints in 2008 and 2009.
The report says while Ouimet was given a chance to respond to the final report, she hasn't.
"In our view, the Commissioner's behaviour and actions do not pass the test of public scrutiny and are inappropriate and unacceptable for a public servant -- most notably for the Agent of Parliament specifically charged with the responsibility of upholding integrity in the public sector and of protecting public servants from reprisal," the report says.
John Skelton is the Principal Consultant and founder of Strategic Inventory Management.