Sun | May 26, 2019

Forrest fire - PSOJ turns up heat on Spectrum chair, demands sweeping audits

Published:Saturday | July 28, 2018 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell/Senior Staff Reporter
Trevor Forrest
Mitchell
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President of the Private Sector Organisation (PSOJ) of Jamaica Howard Mitchell has called for an audit of the "general conduct" on state boards of Chairman of the Spectrum Management Authority (SMA) Trevor Forrest. This follows the revelation that Forrest attempted to insert an applicant on a shortlist of persons to be interviewed for a senior post despite resistance from the then managing director, Dr David McBean.

"Forrest should be sanctioned in some way," the PSOJ head declared. The SMA chairman is appointed to multiple public sector boards.

In a Gleaner interview, Mitchell said that the PSOJ has thrown its full support behind the stance taken by McBean as an example of good governance. Mitchell said that the exchange between Forrest and McBean was a clear example of where an appointed board member attempted to overstep the limits of his jurisdiction.

 

PRESSURE TO ADD CANDIDATE

 

Forrest, between August and September 2016, pressed McBean to include Carolyn Warren belatedly on a shortlist of persons to be interviewed for the position of manager - administration in 2016.

The chairman had said to the managing director, "Please see that this resume is added to your shortlisted candidates for interview and consideration. If there are any questions, let me know." However, McBean stated that the addition of a candidate at that stage would have been highly irregular and would leave the SMA open to an HR audit.

"At the very least, the matter should have received attention from the entire board," said Mitchell. Further, he said that if a policy was in place, there would have to be good and sufficient reason for the policy to be varied.

"In this case, I cannot see any reason why the policy should be varied," Mitchell reasoned, noting that the applicant (Warren) did not have any special qualifications or unique and highly technical skills that would be needed for the job. "And certainly, you have an obligation to the other people who had been interviewed, shortlisted, and have legitimate hopes and aspirations for the job."

He said that the actions of McBean were welcome proof that the system that should work still works. Mitchell congratulated McBean for his understanding of the importance of good governance and consistent policy.

Attempts to reach Forrest yesterday for comment were unsuccessful.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com