New Brunswick’s minister of local government reform has rejected an appeal for an independent review of the hiring process for the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) in the new, amalgamated Town of Tantramar.
In a letter to Sackville Town Council released today, Daniel Allain writes that he stands by his decision to appoint Dorchester CAO Jennifer Borne to the position.
“I trust that you will support this decision and will continue to positively support the implementation of local governance reform,” Allain writes.
He was responding to a July 13th letter from Sackville Mayor Shawn Mesheau, writing on behalf of town council, urging Allain not to appoint Borne until an independent review had been conducted.
Mesheau’s letter suggested that the hiring process may not have been fair, objective and reasonable and asked Allain to meet with town council to discuss it.
Instead, Allain met with Mayor Mesheau alone on July 18 where Deputy Minister Ryan Donaghy reviewed the hiring process in a bid to show it was fair.
Today’s letter to town council from Allain outlines the hiring timeline, but with less detail than Donaghy provided to Mesheau:
- May 26: both Dorchester CAO Jennifer Borne and Sackville CAO Jamie Burke were asked to confirm their interest in the CAO position for the Town of Tantramar.
- June 3: a hiring committee was appointed which included Sackville Deputy Mayor Andrew Black, Dorchester Deputy Mayor Robert Corkerton, Chris Milner, an appointed representative for the Sackville local service district (LSD) and Chad Peters, the provincial facilitator for local governance reform in Entity 40, now known as the Town of Tantramar.
- June 8: The hiring committee interviewed Jamie Burke and completed what is known as a “scoring matrix.”
- June 14: The committee interviewed Jennifer Borne and completed her “scoring matrix” and according to Allain’s letter, the hiring committee “finalized the evaluation of the candidates as well as their recommendation on the candidate most qualified for appointment” to the CAO position.
- June 15: Andrew Black resigned from the hiring committee.
- June 22: Jennifer Murray Consulting (JMC), an independent HR firm, which had been involved in the process from the beginning, provided information on reference checks to facilitator Chad Peters and the hiring committee’s recommendation was sent to Allain who then appointed Jennifer Borne.
Allain’s decision to reject Sackville’s request for an independent review is the latest in a series of defeats for town council since it wrote to the minister last December urging him to abide by his promise not to force the town into an unwelcome marriage with Dorchester, Point de Bute and surrounding LSDs.
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