Premier McNeil covering up unfair hiring process

July 26, 2016 at 8:43 am

PCs want Liberals to come clean

Stephen McNeil

HALIFAX, NSIn the wake of yet another Liberal senior staffing scandal, Premier Stephen McNeil is trying to muddy the facts and cover up his government’s record of wrong-doing when it comes to fair hiring.

Speaking to CBC Information Morning, the Premier continued to misrepresent the facts.

The Premier claimed “It’s standard practice to seek input from unionized and non-unionized employees if a temporary job is being made permanent or the terms of a job are being rewritten before it’s posted.”

Marilla Stephenson should have completed her contract working on the OneNS Coalition, on March 31, 2016. This new, permanent position is completely different – managing issues and crises across Government. It is a brand new job and job description.

The Premier claims it’s not unusual to post jobs internally before posting them to an external audience.

The job was posted for six days and Stephenson was the only applicant. Stephenson co-wrote the job description and was then offered the job without a broader look at potential applicants. The Premier’s deputy shut down any opportunity for external applicants and chose to hire the sole internal applicant.

The Premier claims it’s “difficult enough for elected people who sign on for this stuff. But when you ask people to come in to either serve at the deputy minister’s level or serve, they’re not serving the Liberal leader, they’re serving the people of Nova Scotia.”

This hiring reflects a pattern of people connected with the Premier being preferentially hired in Government jobs. In December of 2013, Premier McNeil hired failed Liberal candidate Glennie Langille. Stephenson was a columnist at the Chronicle Herald at the time and noted in the her column titled “Brave New World, Same Old Patronage“.

After the Langille appointment became public in December, McNeil defended his choice, saying she was qualified for the job. But that, sadly, is not the point. The integrity of the public service — access to which is supposed to be based on merit, not patronage — is damaged when a premier feels compelled to remove a job from its jurisdiction in order to reward a good friend and political loyalist.

The Premier declared in December that he was being “upfront” about the appointment, and in almost the same breath defensively said Langille’s resume was the only one to land on his desk.

Of course it was. That’s exactly the way he engineered it.

This is not the sort of change Nova Scotians voted for when they chose the Liberals, and McNeil, to put Nova Scotia first.