Vancouver School Board Chair under fire for controversial hire
The appointment of Kurt Heinrich to the role of a communications officer with the Vancouver School Board is yet another example of how Vision Trustees can bungle an open job competition. Last week it was announced by Superintendent Steve Cardwell through the Vancouver Courier, that he and Patti Bacchus and other senior management unanimously found Kurt to be the best candidate out of 15 applicants.
Certainly this has raised a number of questions for me:
- Was in fact VSB Chair Patti Bacchus on the shortlisting committee?
- Was Patti Bacchus also on the interviewing committee?
The public needs answers to these questions primarily because as a retired human resources manager I must say, ANY Trustee on any of these competitions is highly unusual and just not the norm. In my experience over five years I've never seen a Chair of a School Board sit on a low level hiring committee, let alone any Trustee.
Patti Bacchus needs to come clean on her participation in this process immediately. If she was involved, look out, as this then becomes a grotesque example of "conflict of interest". There must be a review as to the level of her involvement in this process.
During this review process that I propose, Patti Bacchus MUST step down in her role as VSB Chair and relinquish those responsibilities to the Vice-Chair.
Minister of Education George Abbott needs to follow up on this issue, and appoint last year's Comptroller General Cheryl Wenezenki-Yolland to investigate. It was only last spring that the CG identified that this Vision-dominated board needed training in conflict of interest situations, and that it was a very serious issue that could call for the removal of a Trustee if found guilty of inappropriate political interference.
The hiring of Vision political operative with questionable qualifications for the job of a senior public relations representative smells of interference at the highest level. The public deserves to have the confidence in the decisions of the Vancouver School Board, and that cannot happen until the clouds around this political appointment clear.
Editor's Note: The Courier is reporting today that Heinrich has removed a number of the partisan political tweets from his Twitter account. Thankfully, the media have kept copies!
- Post by Fraser Ballantyne. Fraser is running as a School Board Trustee with the Vancouver NPA. If you're an elected official or candidate seeking a nomination and want to write about urban issues, please send your 450-500 word submission to CityCaucus@gmail.com.