27 September 2017


In my doctoral dissertation I noted the failure of the New Zealand government in recruiting a new Chief Defence Scientist - not a trivial position - to adequately vet the appointee's resume. The South Australian government appears to have had the same experience.

Last week the ABC reported
The Independent Commissioner Against Corruption has launched a maladministration investigation into the recruitment processes surrounding the employment of a senior public servant in the SA Premier's Department, who has been sacked and is now facing criminal charges. The Department of Premier and Cabinet's chief information officer Veronica Theriault and another public servant, Alan Corkhill, were arrested last week. 
Theriault was charged with deception, dishonestly dealing with documents and abuse of public office and was sacked on Tuesday. Corkhill was charged with deception and aiding and abetting the woman. 
Theriault was hired for the CIO position recently, after it was advertised in May with a salary of up to $244,000. A LinkedIn profile under her name says she worked as "chief geek" for accommodation booking company Wotif in Melbourne from 2011 to August this year, but the company has told the ABC that Theriault had never worked there. 
Anti-corruption commissioner Bruce Lander said the pair was arrested by ICAC officers last Friday. 
Premier Jay Weatherill said he has asked the Department of Premier and Cabinet for an urgent review into how the pair were hired. "It's an extraordinary act of alleged criminal conduct that we've seen here, people forging documents," he said. 
Mr Weatherill said the CIO has access to sensitive information, and the hiring process should have involved security clearances. He has not ruled out disciplinary action against other public servants involved in hiring Theriault, but said he would wait until the internal review is finished.
Yesterday the ABC reported
Two more cases of people being awarded high-paying executive positions based on fake qualifications have been uncovered after an urgent inquiry by the South Australia Government. ... 
Following the arrests, Premier Jay Weatherill called for an urgent review of the recruitment process. The investigation uncovered two cases of alleged fraud from 2011, both within the shared services section of the Premier and Cabinet's Department. 
The department's chief executive, Don Russell, said a man was appointed director of strategic programs, but later resigned amid allegations he had dishonestly represented his work history and academic qualifications. 
In the second case, a former business engineering manager was fired during his probation period due to "unsatisfactory performance and incorrect statements made in connection with his application for employment". 
"In this case, the former manager submitted a certified copy of his qualifications which was accepted then on face value," Mr Russell said. "When later scrutinised, these qualifications and the copy submitted were proven to be false. "It is clear to me that there have been some failings in the verification and checks on senior appointments." 
Mr Russell said he had introduced new protocols which would take immediate effect for senior appointments. These include detailed police and security checks, increased verification of work history and a "forensic investigation" of candidates' social media profiles.