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.
For previous coverage, click here.
Good they need some karma. I am glad he stood his ground on Jennifer Borne’s appointment. You just can’t go and offer a person a job, announce it publicly and then take it away. What was this council thinking? The world doesn’t work that way.
Comment from Bruce Wark: No, the province never announced this publicly, at least not until today and only then at the close of business. All they would say previously is that a CAO had been selected. The whole process was shrouded in secrecy with information about it as scarce as hens’ teeth. Oh well, they say, this is HR, this is personnel and we can’t say anything. Extracting info from them (and the town) is like extracting impacted wisdom teeth, only harder. I deserve an honorary degree in Dentistry!
Hi Bruce, by the power invested in me, I confer upon you the honorary degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery for your work these past years in trying to shine a light through the fog of secrecy and unaccountability that has surrounded our town management and council.
I agree Bruce. Thank you for pulling the hens teeth. If it wasn’t for you we’d no nothing about this council or what they are up to. Too many closed door meetings..
Welcome aboard, Ms Borne! All the best in your new position.
Thanks to WarkTimes for posting the reply which Council received from Minister Allain, regarding their questions as to the validity of Jennifer Borne’s appointment as the CAO for the new Town of Tantramar.
The timeline provided for each step in the selection process of the hiring committee is very informative, and serves to shed light on a previous story covered by WarkTimes – the timing of Deputy-Mayor Andrew Black’s resignation from that hiring committee.
From a previous WarkTimes article (July 14, 2022), we know that Black resigned from the Hiring Committee on June 15, citing as his reason that he didn’t feel the process was fair. He contended he left the committee prior to any selection having been made, emphasizing that he did not take part in the actual ‘hiring process’ which selected Ms Borne.
However, this timeline provided by Minister Allain to Sackville Town Council contradicts Black’s statement. This timeline states the hiring committee interviewed Sackville CAO Jamie Burke on June 8, and Dorchester CAO Jennifer Borne on June 14. On that same date – June 14 – the timeline also indicates the hiring committee “finalized the evaluation of the candidates” and prepared their “recommendation on the candidate most qualified for appointment.”
That was a day prior to the date when Deputy-Mayor Black reported that he resigned from the committee.
I agree. I wrote to the Minister to thank him for sticking to his guns. This council is out of control and to sanction a member, and stop his pay, for an opinion is ridiculous. I personally think it is less about what Bruce said, he just doesn’t agree with them on a lot of things and that’s a good thing, the constant group think of this council was getting obnoxious to say the least. Other opinions should be welcomed. We needed a good shake up, so I also welcome Ms. Borne
Sackville council has been hoisted by their own petard.
Forced to adopt a code of conduct to quell unpopular opinions they are guilty of violating Article 9(d) of the Code of Conduct which states,”members shall serve the welfare and interest of the town as a whole and the community at large in a conscientious and diligent manner and approach the decision with an open mind.”
In small print in some bill the province reserves the right to squash council decisions that are not in their mind supporting the greater good of the province. I call it the ” indefinite” good. Robert’s rules allows in regular constituted meetings most of what you do behind closed doors. An open mind might be a place to start.
Oh the things the new CAO may discover…
I’m going to come back to this article in a year and compare it to what you will all be saying about her then. It will be entertaining, I’m sure.
Don’t wait a year – it’ll only take 3 months or 3 weeks. The way it goes in this town (or the new town) they’ll character destroy her in no time. That’s how it goes here..,, etc
I disagree there will be alot of members from Dorchester and the other LSD running and they already have great appreciation of Ms. Borne. She will be well liked, she already is. This won’t be the same toxic orgainzation it once was total different makeup under the new amalgamation.