06.02.2010 08:05 AM

Kid Kodak Kontroversy, ad infinitum

Some folks have asked me whether I disagree with Ontario politicians – of all stripes – who voted to reappoint the Ombudisaster.

Yes, I disagree with them.  All of them. Among other things, the solipsism and hypocrisy and recklessness of this egomaniac makes John Gomery look like a publicity-adverse chartered accountant.

Oh, and look!  From today’s Toronto Star:

André Marin, in his previous job as Canadian military ombudsman, created a dysfunctional workplace rife with complaints and 150 staff departures from the small office during his tenure, a federal report says.

Marin, who has served as Ontario Ombudsman since 2005, was re-appointed for another five-year term yesterday…

The federal report, commissioned by Marin’s successor Yves Coté, and based on interviews with 46 staffers, found that staff expressed an “overwhelming relief . . . to see the new leadership take its place.”

The human resources department was a “failed” and “woefully inadequate” system that “may actually be contributing to inefficiency in the organization.” There was confusion surrounding job descriptions due to few standards or policies. “People have real difficulty not knowing what is expected of them in the workplace.”

The lack of standards is also a problem in Marin’s current job as ombudsman for the Ontario government. A half dozen current and former employees have told the Star that policies and standards were shelved when Marin took over and that staff no longer had rules to guide job performance. Some have said they were condemned for actions that others were applauded for. The sources say this lack of standards allowed managers to criticize and fire employees on a whim…

The mass exodus of federal staff — 150 during his tenure — in the “relatively small organization” was “far in excess of the sort of staff transition one should expect.” A review of the Defence Ombudsman’s annual reports from Marin’s tenure shows his organization staff levels ranged from only 14 people in his first year to 50 in his last.

Star sources have said that under Marin’s leadership, about 70 Ontario Ombudsman’s workers have left.

The turnover has been expensive to taxpayers. A review of Ontario public accounts shows $780,000 in severance payments since 2005. Williamson said this number does not only reflect money paid to those who left involuntarily but also those who get paid upon resignation or retirement.

Many of the employees who received severances were fired. They were paid out by the ombudsman’s office after hiring lawyers to complain about unfair termination. One condition of the severance package was the former employee sign a gag order, agreeing to not publicly or disparagingly speak of the ombudsman’s office.

And this! From today’s Globe:

…there was also hard evidence he had spent money in ways that, while technically allowed under the rules governing his conduct, very clearly didn’t meet the current standard.

This was a public servant making more than $200,000 annually, and expensing toothpaste, body wash, shaving products and a shopping list of other toiletries. Meanwhile, he was using public money to accessorize his Ottawa home with a new TV, while the government was paying for a second residence and a per diem in Toronto.

One of my closest Ontario Liberal friends told me other day that some political folks think I’m “crazy.”

On days like this, I admit, I feel like I must be crazy.  I mean, I clearly am missing something in the Kid Kodak farce that everyone else sees.

Am I?

3 Comments

  1. Cam says:

    You’re definitely not crazy.

    Loads of us rely on you to bring us facts, insight and opinion and that counts for a lot.

  2. Martin says:

    I agree with you totally. Marin is a jackass of the highest order. All form no substance. What I don’t understand is how he keeps landing these plum jobs.

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