Sunday, June 07, 2015

Hey, Mr. Palmer....Which Overtime Is This Anyway?


First, from the BC Liberal government press release of September 6, 2012:

VICTORIA - The Ministry of Health has asked the RCMP to investigate allegations of inappropriate conduct, contracting and data-management practices involving ministry employees and drug researchers.

Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid said today that the ministry has provided the RCMP with interim results of an internal investigation, which was supported by a lead investigator from the Office of the Chief Information Officer, Ministry of Citizens' Services and Open Government. It examined contracting and research grant practices between ministry employees and researchers at the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria.

"We take all allegations of this nature very seriously," she said. "I have instructed the ministry to continue to take whatever steps are necessary to respond to these matters thoroughly. We must ensure confidence is maintained in the integrity of the public service to execute its responsibilities in a manner that meets the high standards of conduct expected by the public."

The formal investigation, which commenced in May 2012, examined financial controls, contracting, data management and employee/contractor relationships, and produced evidence of potential conflict of interest, and inappropriate contract management and data access with external drug researchers...

Second, from Mr. Vaughn Palmer's latest VSun column, plunked down right at the end of the thing (after the Dean had already re-heated the details of the Rob Shaw-obtained federal FOI release that clearly demonstrated that the BC Liberal government repeatedly misled both the public and the RCMP with respect to the only recently 'concluded' investigation first referred to in the Sept 2012 press release cited above):

...After media reports that the comptroller-general’s office was still engaged in a two-year-old investigation of the contract irregularities, the police reopened their file (which they had closed months earlier due to a lack of information from the government) and reached out to (the government's) lead investigator Dan Peck.

“Completing this file remains my investigation unit’s priority,” advised Peck. But when police asked “what his instincts were in regards to potential criminal offences, he said that he had not yet uncovered any clear evidence of a crime.”

This after two years of comprehensive investigation by the office that serves as the government’s fraud prevention branch. When the comptroller finally did wrap up its work this year, the findings were delivered to police.

“Any further determination will be up to them” a government representative said this week. Police declined to comment. And so the game continues.

(stuff in brackets mine, inserted for clarity)


Perhaps Mr. Palmer could tell us, his dear readers, how (and why), exactly, is this a 'game'?

For those who have may have forgotten (thanks Lew!)... Andrew McLeod of The Tyee had this one pretty much nailed down, based on a Dipper-obtained FOI, back in February... 



Unknown said...

Firing someone, or in this case, eight people, requires an extensive investigation to determine that the employer had just cause to do so. Apparently this is not de rigeur in BC Liberal land.

When you threaten your eight targets that the police are now reviewing the matter, you had better make sure that they are on-board or it becomes a cheap lie.

When it is revealed that the employer did not have just cause after all, taxpayers start footing the bill for the inevitable settlements and litigation.

Fast forward to three years later, and the government is still perpetuating this myth that a criminal offence has occurred, even though some of the so-called suspects have reached settlements, received compensation, been re-instated in their positions, or are waiting their turn in court. Not much of a prospect for a successful criminal case here, folks. But the pending civil cases sure look promising.

In the real world, if you have been assigned an allegation of criminality, you don't have much time to justify to your supervisors that you have a substantial likelihood of conviction, and that the time spent to conclude the matter is worthwhile. In my experience dealing with the provincial government as an investigator, you first have a face-to-face meeting with several interested persons who proceed to fall over themselves with cooperation. I see no evidence of that here. I don't know Dan Peck at all, but unless he is BC's version of Inspector Clouseau, he is being bullied into participating in this slow motion train wreck. A man killed himself over this.

This plan had to have the blessing of people in the highest levels of government to be conceived, and those same persons are now busy resuscitating their three-year screw-up hoping to save their political careers. Niccolo Machiavelli would be proud.

scotty on denman said...

Poor Niccolo frequently gets a bad rap, but he can at least be redeemed by posthumous reference to his literary legacy. True, Machiavelli's name has become the byword for heartless, duplicitous skullduggery, but, if his ethics are to be so judged, it should be recognized that, for him, the highest ethical conduct should benefit the state. The enduring controversy is, of course, whether it's proper for this particular ethical standard of conduct to trump other other standards of morality, like fairness, honesty, community, and the like.

We can leave philosophers to debate the larger question, but fact is, the BC Liberals do not even meet Machiavelli's controversial ethical standard, morality aside. Or, put another way, BC Liberal conduct is so bad, it doesn't even meet Machiavelli's questionable ethical standard, that is, it doesn't benefit the state (province).

BC Liberals have made moral questions about their actions moot, their consistent unethical conduct having preceded them.

scotty on denman said...

Whoops! Excuse me: two "others" don't make another other redundant---they already are.