What not to do: Report every public servant needs to read
THE head of Queensland's corruption watchdog has urged all Queensland public servants to read the findings of an investigation into whether Jackie Trad interfered with a high-profile recruitment.
The Crime and Corruption Commission investigated whether the then Deputy Premier interfered in the recruitment of a principal for the new Inner City South State Secondary College, which happens to be located within Ms Trad's electorate.
SCROLL DOWN TO READ THE FULL REPORT
While the CCC found that Ms Trad did not commit a criminal offence and was not "motivated by any dishonest or corrupt intent", there were some "very worrying and disappointing" practices identified during the investigation.
"All Queensland public servants and elected officials should read this report to see how a straight forward recruitment process went off the rails. This type of conduct should never occur again," CCC chairman Alan MacSporran said.
"The report outlines how some department officers thought it was a good idea or were aware of the idea to "test" a candidate during a meeting with the former Deputy Premier, even though the selection panel had made a decision.
"The former Deputy Premier did not instigate that meeting and was not a member of the selection panel, nor was a meeting part of the original recruitment process, so in the CCC's view the meeting to "test" the candidate was entirely inappropriate."
KEY POINTS FROM THE INVESTIGATION INTO THE JACKIE TRAD RECRUITMENT SAGA
Ruling on Jackie Trad
The former Deputy Premier has not committed a criminal offence or that she was motivated by any dishonest or corrupt intent. Notwithstanding this, the nature of her involvement in the Department of Education (DoE) decision-making created a corruption risk
Decision to involve Ms Trad was "ill-advised"
- The CCC concludes that while the Deputy Premier did not intend to influence decision-making in relation to the Band 11 Principal position, the manner in which the DoE, and specifically a Deputy Director-General, approached the situation meant it had that result.
- The decision to involve the Deputy Premier in the recruitment process was ill-advised. The failure to keep records fell well below the standards expected of senior public servants.
Enrolment figure controversy
The manufacturing of a new enrolment figure was arguably dishonest. The CCC considered the DoE's decision to use demographic modelling that indicated the school would be "over 1600" students, therefore justifying the appointment of a principal at a higher level, was misleading.
The deleted email
- The CCC found the deletion of an email on April 12, 2019, was also dishonest. The email from the Manager of the Building Future Schools Program was sent to all staff of the Building Future Schools Communications team. It stated:
Can we please ensure that we use "over 1600" instead of "up to 1500" in all Inner City South State Secondary College materials moving forward.
Also, can we please check our current publicly facing materials, including our website, and incorporate the change above.
The Principal Advisor was copied into this email who then phoned the Manager of the Building Future Schools Program instructing that the email be deleted and for those who received it to also delete it.
The CCC were able to recovered the deleted email from the DoE server.
Misleading media statement
The publication of false information in a media statement, and the provision of false or misleading information to the Premier and Minister Grace was also arguably dishonest.
This relates to a media statement that said: "An order of merit was established through the initial recruitment process and the Department of Education initiated a meeting with the Deputy Premier which involved an informal discussion of approximately 15 minutes with the highest ranked candidate."
The CCC found "this part of the media statement omits a salient detail, namely that the DG's delegate had approved the appointment of Principal A to the Band 11 Principal position."
Another section of the media release, sent by the Principal Advisor to the DDG and emailed to Ms Trad's electorate office, states:
I have been advised that while the panel had signed off on the appointment, new demographic modelling indicated the school would exceed 1600 students and be eligible for an Executive Principal position.
Therefore no offer of appointment was made.
Based on departmental advice indicating the ICSSSC would be eligible for an Executive Principal position, I approved the role's reclassification at this higher level of remuneration.
The CCC said this statement was false and was designed to mislead. The CCC considers the statement that new demographic modelling indicated the school would exceed 1600 students is misleading and appears to have been included to justify the DoE's position to proceed with a principal at the higher level.
The approach the DoE has taken to represent the numbers to justify readvertising the position
is something that has taken the CCC some time to uncover.
Implication of the Minister for Education
A related allegation that the Minister for Education may be implicated in these issues was not substantiated. The CCC found no reasonable suspicion of corrupt conduct and no information uncovered during the investigation supported the allegation.
Originally published as What not to do: The report every public servant needs to read