No hardship in paid leave of absence

Having the IWK’s Chief Financial Officer take a paid leave of absence sends a mixed message. Does it suggest he failed in his job or was bullied into submission by the previous CEO or that the individual is an impediment to investigations by outside auditors?

Part of a memo from the IWK’s board chair, Karen Hutt, printed by The Chronicle Herald says the CFO, “fully understands the importance of an external review and we appreciate that he wants to ensure that the integrity of this process is not compromised.”

I suppose this goes to the concept that “Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion.”

Being asked not to come to work while still being paid $760 a day/$3,800 a week is not a hardship. So, the question for the IWK Board, the Health Minister and the Government is this: if an employee on paid leave is found to have failed in his/her duties is that paid leave considered part of the severance package or are taxpayers left to flush out a package which is built up by money paid for not working?

Is executive severance a bottomless pot of gold?


A postscript: An Ontario judge who, on a lark, wore a Make America Great Again hat to work was suspended, without pay, for 30 days.


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5 Responses to No hardship in paid leave of absence

  1. ausca says:

    While I don’t disagree, I thought putting a public servant under a cloud on some sort of paid leave (if the issue appears unclear) or unpaid leave (if it looks like they are likely to have done something wrong) was a standard procedure in dealing with allegations of serious error or wrongdoing in the civil service. This is often done with police alleged to have behaved improperly for example.

    • Yes, it is standard operating procedure. But if a cause for dismissal is found – in any such case – shouldn’t some of that money go against severance? When does it stop? The IWK was too poor to pay for baby diapers, but not too poor for auditors, to sustain personal shopping trips, to pay for an executive not to come to work.

      Can we not change past procedures? We do for the common man. Maybe paid leave should be treated like maternity leave, with only part of the salary paid? If the investigation finds nothing, the individual can return to work at full salary. But shouldn’t the employer have some relief for not having the services of that executive?

  2. Peter Ryan says:

    It seems to me that governments and entitled, tenured beaurocrats will only get the message when the citizens rise up with pitchforks in hand. The corruption and greed never change with a change in government. Pretty much all the same. Along with devious secrecy is disgusting.

    • ausca says:

      There you have it Peter.

      The compact of any democracy is that voters are intelligent citizens concerned with their own well being and choose one of their number whom they know and trust to represent them for a fixed term to represent their interests and their values when the business of state is being done. Today such a notion is positively quaint.

      Instead we face professional politicians marketed by self-interested political parties who will say or do anything to get elected. We complain about how nothing ever changes and cynically wish a pox on all their houses railing against the symptoms not the cause – but WE are the cause.

      Ultimately this stuff happens because we allow it. Parties and politicians are only too aware of how detached, confused and contemptuous we have become about government in general. Stephen Harper would encourage voter disgust at his government because he knew that would cause discouraged NDP and Liberal voters to stay home on election day, while Conservative supporters (around 25-30% of the electorate) would crawl over broken glass to return their boy. It worked. Barely 60% of eligible voters bothered to vote. Can you blame professional politicians for screwing us over for personal gain when we seem to invite it?

      Electoral democracy is becoming increasingly broken IMHO. The only way I can see for it to be fixed is for citizens to take it back, and to do that we have to make the parties and their erstwhile franchisees Fear Us. They feed on people who uncritically support Liberal (or whatever), because they do. Maybe they can’t even remember why. The Maple Leafs rely on such feckless loyalty. What has that done for their game?

      Parties have core supporters who they take for granted. They know loyal supporters of rival parties cannot be turned. That leaves one, key amorphous voting bloc which really frightens political parties. They spend so much marketing, advertising, polling and focus group money on pulling the swing vote. They all do.

      Notice how little public health care is ever discussed in federal or provincial elections? One of the few things all parties can agree upon is that it’s a scary can of worms, best avoided. If you are unhappy with the way public health care is being manged in Nova Scotia (and really, how could you not be?) make sure your MLA feels the intensity of displeasure, and exactly why. Get like-minded friends to do the same. The local MP/MLA is the feeler upon whom The Party leadership relies. If enough voters vent their spleen about the way NS public health and wellness is being managed, the Leadership will see it as an election issue. Moral or even financial issues don’t rate by comparison.

      I fear that if we don’t closely examine and audit the way we manage a program that consumes 50% of the provincial budget, yet leaves so many of its ‘client/shareholders’ unhappy, it will collapse into a 2 tier system where private system drains the public system of talent while public system wait times and outcomes just get worse.

      It’s been a while since I earbashed my MLA. I should work up my next appointment.

  3. ausca says:

    Of course we should change past management procedures if they are subsequently found defective or inadequate – no argument there. This of course should be a government-wide initiative, including the DHAs. Right now though this is the way things stand, so it seems to me that IWK is correct to do this.

    As for scarce resources allocated frivolously or sprinkled on management sacred cows, I totally agree – that’s just another symptom of a public health management in desperate need of close auditing and likely serious reform, if we can find anyone with the balls to dare.

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