And then there was...none. Ontario's Minister of Health resigns today in the wake of the eHealth scandal
The ravages of the eHealth Ontario scandal seem to be boundless, yet one figure with a local connection seems to be unscathed. David Caplan, Ontario's Minister of Health has resigned, on the eve of the release of a report on the mismanagement of the eHealth Ontario debacle. Add Caplan's name to a long list of others who have either been fired, or resigned in disgrace in the wake of the massive waste of public funds.
Unbelievably, the person who is the veritable symbol of the eHealth mess, Vancouver's City Manager "PowerPoint" Penny Ballem, has raised not a single eyebrow from local media. The story has garnered considerable attention back east, however. Penny has earned the nickname as "PowerPoint Penny" because of her knack for delivering information in this proprietary Microsoft format. A single PowerPoint is also the only tangible result of her $33,000 worth of services done in five weeks as an eHealth consultant, according to an FOI filed by CityCaucus.com.
The fact that Ballem began working for eHealth at her $380/hour rate (plus meal allowance) without a contract and without any competitive bids is one of the main reasons the eHealth Ontario scandal erupted. According to reports, her $3,000 daily rate was the highest among all of eHealth's consultants. The Globe and Mail's Karen Howlett, who has been doing some of the best reporting on eHealth, revealed that the damning auditor's report to come out Wednesday shows that the Health Ministry has been for years awarding contracts without competitive bids.
Ms. Ballem when questioned about her connection to the eHealth story shrugged it off. She suggested she was part of an exclusive club of public health consultants, the only ones qualified to handle the work. The fact that Ballem and other consultants didn't have to compete with other suppliers in the marketplace is likely one of the reasons the pool of suppliers was so shallow.
The Health Minister, eHealth's CEO, the Chairman of eHealth's board, and many others have all lost their jobs and lost face for their part in the eHealth Ontario mess. Will others finally be accountable, too?