14 January 2009

Busy work

Otherwise known as shuffling deputy ministers around.

1.  We’d be remiss if we didn’t note that the provincial government’s recycling program – complete with the used tire mess – is now being run, albeit on an acting basis, by the same guy who runs the provincial government’s fire and disaster response crowd.

2.  The acting minister of environment/acting deputy minister combo that’s been in place since last summer has been replaced by an acting minister/confirmed deputy minister.  The guy’s been in the job six months and is only now confirmed as the deputy minister.  Bet a lot got done in that department with all the acting going on.

3.  What exactly is a deputy minister of special projects which, the release notes, includes collective bargaining?  Since when is collective bargaining a “special project”?  Not so very long ago that was handled by the person who is now called the deputy minister of the Public Service Secretariat, which, incidentally, also got a new deputy minister.

4.  That deputy minister came from education which got – you guessed it – an acting deputy minister in her stead.

5.  Jerome Kennedy mumbled something over the Christmas holidays about inefficiency in the public service.  Well, he might take note of his boss’ habits in promoting inefficiency.

Firstly, too many people are appointed to too many positions in an acting capacity.  As such, they have a limited ability to get down to work since they might be shuffled off to some other part of the The Hill before they know what hit them.

Secondly, sometimes people get stuck with two things that are unrelated.  Like Mike Samson, a very capable fellow, who must now juggle bottles and cans as well as fire extinguishers.  One of those jobs is – you are too quick – on an acting basis, so don’t expect anyone to be sorting out the mess of the cans and tires until the Premier gets around to putting a full-time boss at the recycling board.

Thirdly, in his own case, Jerome has reporting to him no less than four deputy ministers where there used to be two.  That’s right. Four people doing the job that used to be handled by two.  That’s four if we include the special projects DM since contract negotiations used to be the responsibility of the person running Treasury Board.

Fourthly, let’s not forget there’s still a staffing thing out there called the Public Service Commission  - as opposed to a “secretariat” - with its own bureaucracy that does a whole bunch of other human resource-related stuff.

Fifthly, let’s notice the number of appointments where people just traded offices.

How confusing is this mess?  Well consider that Jerome has been in finance/treasury board/OCIO/public service secretariat since well before Christmas.  His name appears as the minister responsible on the index page for the Public Service Secretariat space on the government website. 

Scan down the page, though, and you see this tidbit:

The Public Service Secretariat is headed by Deputy Minister David Gale who reports to the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board, Hon. Tom Marshall.

Now Gale just got shifted so the web-nerd for finance or treasury board or the public service secretariat or the office of the chief information officer (Knuckles Two) can be forgiven for not being right on the ball.

But Marshall?  He’s been gone for months.

It would all make you laugh if it wasn’t your own cash supporting it.