Kathy Dunderdale has the distinction of making more changes to the public service than any of her predecessors as Premier in the past 15 years.
Since taking office in December, Dunderdale has made 15 announcements of a changes in the senior ranks of the provincial public service.
In 2010, Danny Williams made a total of nine announcements. and from 2003 to the middle of 2009, he made a total of 37.
By comparison, Liberal Premiers made a total of 24 announcements over the course of eight years.
And while most of the appointment announcements since 1996 have involved one or two positions per announcements, since 2009, the provincial Tories have been making more changes at one time and more changes overall.
In 2009, Danny Williams made five announcements of changes to the senior ranks of the public service, but those five announcements involved 28 positions.
In 2010, he made nine announcements affecting 28 positions.
And in the first seven months of 2011, Kathy Dunderdale has made 15 announcements affecting 19 positions.
While there is no definitive link between frequent changes at the deputy minister level and poor organizational performance at the federal level, it is interesting that the two are correlated in the current Conservative administration. In his report on the 2009 fiscal year, the province’s auditor general noted that monthly financial statements of government’s budget performance were no longer widely circulated.
One study by the consulting firm Deloitte, however, noted that with frequent changes at the assistant deputy minister level, follow-up on problems discovered during an audit can simply get pushed aside. That study showed departmental audit committees could help maintain continuity despite high turn-over at the senior management level.
At the federal level the executive group – deputy ministers, assistant deputies, executive directors, etc – has been the group experiencing the highest rate of change.
While senior appointments are made by cabinet, they remain the prerogative of the premier to chose.
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