WHITMARSH Won't Participate in Health Firings Review

WHITMARSH Won't Participate in Health Firings Review

Postby Oscar » Wed Nov 26, 2014 11:46 am

Former Senior Gov't Official Won't Participate in Health Firings Review

[ http://thetyee.ca/News/2014/11/25/Whitm ... ign=261114 ]

Graham Whitmarsh cites concerns over review's independence.

By Andrew MacLeod, November 25, 2014 TheTyee.ca

The former deputy minister of health who led the ministry in 2012 when at least seven employees were fired said today he won't participate in the government review into those firings because he believes it lacks independence.

Graham Whitmarsh made the announcement in a written statement.

Employment lawyer Marcia McNeil is conducting that review under terms of reference written by Lynda Tarras, who was head of the Public Service Agency until she retired at the end of October.

In the statement, Whitmarsh said he has faith in McNeil's independence -- but can't say the same for the review.

"I believe Ms. McNeil is a credible professional who is in a difficult position trying to complete a review established with an unreasonably restrictive scope and terms of reference," wrote Whitmarsh, who was deputy minister of health until he lost his job in a June 2013 shuffle.

Whitmarsh said he met with McNeil on Nov. 24. "Our meeting confirmed my previous concern regarding the unreasonably narrow limits placed on this review and how they will impact her ability to produce a meaningful report," Whitmarsh wrote.

"While Ms. McNeil may be independent, clearly the review is not," he wrote.

Government overreacted

In September 2012, then-health minister Margaret MacDiarmid, with Whitmarsh at her side, called a news conference to announce the firings and suspensions of seven ministry employees. She said she had asked the RCMP to investigate allegations to do with potential conflicts of interest, contracting and responsible data management.

Since then, the government has admitted it mishandled the affair. The firings affected lives and damaged reputations. One of the fired employees, Roderick MacIsaac, committed suicide. Five wrongful dismissal and defamation lawsuits were filed, three of which have now been settled out of court. Two of the people affected have returned to work for the ministry. A third received an apology, as did MacIsaac's family.

However, the government has never publicly accounted for why it fired the health employees in the first place.


[ http://thetyee.ca/News/2014/11/25/Whitm ... ign=261114 ]
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