McKenzie's dilemma: complex, but not complicated
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I am not certain that I have followed all the "arguments" in relation to local government minister, Desmond McKenzie's 'dilemma' concerning approval or disapproval, or influencing the hiring or not, of his son to a professional position at the National solid waste management agency (NSWMA).
But I note the logical and reasonable arguments of the erudite Damion Crawford and others to the effect that politicians should not be allowed to dictate or strongly influence the appointment or non-appointment of any qualified person for any public/professional office or job.
The truth is that, as with many aspects of life, the situation is complex, but not as 'complicated', as it might appear to be.
In principle, being who and where he is, in a new JLP administration, with an entity as notorious as the NSWMA, Mr McKenzie was right to state his disapproval of any such employment for his son clearly and unequivocally
He certainly had a right to state his disapproval to his son. This, out of concern for the likely effects of even the appearance of 'nepotism' in the public mind, upon Mr McKenzie's son and upon Mr McKenzie himself, and his ability to focus on doing his job and his son being allowed to focus on his job, with the many self-righteous, hypocritical, 'snappers' and 'snipers' in the background.
He would also have had the right to express his basic disapproval, with reasons, to the NSWMA management/recruiting managers.
What should happen, in any properly run country/institution/system, however, is that everyone - including Mr McKenzie's son and the NSWMA employment authorities - be free to listen, note and consider all relevant or reasonable recommendations and expressions of approval or disapproval, taking fully into account who is speaking to whom, for what reasons and from which perspectives.
They would also be free to objectively include or reject these considerations as factors in their final decision(s), while accepting full responsibility, and being fully accountable for their decisions and consequence. They would also be fully confident, based on the systems in place and upon their own integrity, that they would have given appropriate weight to the existence of relevant professional skills and qualifications for the job.
Here's hoping we'll get there - one of these days.