The Québec Ombudsman received a disclosure about a senior manager of an institution of higher learning. He allegedly was in conflict of interest when he favoured the hiring of someone he knew well.
The Québec Ombudsman decided to investigate to determine whether wrongdoing had occurred.
The manager and the candidate had worked together before and they had a well-established relationship of trust. They therefore had ties. Because of this, hiring of the candidate could put the manager in a situation of conflict of interest.
To speed up hiring of the candidate he wanted, the manager opted for a procedure that did not require posting of job offers. He went on to sign the contract for hiring his ex-colleague.
The manager’s version
As the manager saw it, the institution’s conflict-of-interest policy did not apply to hiring. He did not consider the ex-colleague as a person with whom he had ties.
The Québec Ombudsman recognizes that the human resources section could have prevented certain acts by the manager. Be that as it may, he was obliged to ensure that his decisions complied with the internal policies in effect. By these acts, he violated:
The senior manager’s acts were a serious breach of ethics and professional conduct.
They were wrongdoings under the Act to facilitate the disclosure of wrongdoings relating to public bodies.
The Quebec Ombudsman recommended that the institutional authorities:
The institutional authorities accepted the Québec Ombudsman’s recommendations and confirmed that they had begun to revise the documents concerned.
The Québec Ombudsman sees to the integrity of public services and is part of the action to improve them. Have you witnessed what you think was a wrongdoing relating to a public body? Do you have information suggesting that such an act was committed or is about to be? Disclose now.