Choosing the Commish: One Bad Process Begets Another

In my previous post, I expected that, following Ron Taverner’s stepping down, the Ford Government would establish a fair and impartial selection process in which neither Premier Ford nor Deputy Minister of Community Safety Mario di Tommaso were involved. I certainly got that one wrong!

According to iPolitics on March 11, Deputy Minister di Tommaso looked over the senior ranks of major Ontario police forces, made a choice, had “very lengthy, deep and detailed discussions” with his choice, and had the whole deal wrapped up in 48 hours, from Wednesday March 6, when Taverner made his announcement, to Friday March 8, when the Order-in-Council was signed. This story strains credibility. How much time did did di Tommaso and Thomas Carrique, the new commissioner, have for their deep and detailed discussions? And how much time did Carrique have to discuss his sudden elevation with his family? Perhaps, at the very least, di Tommaso had been thinking about whom to choose before Taverner stepped down. Or perhaps the version of events the government made public was exaggerated, with the process having started before Taverner stepped down, so that Taverner was asked to step down after Carrique had been selected?

Carrique looks like a better choice than Taverner, with much more management experience and without any personal history with the premier. But have we any assurance that he is the best choice?

The process that chose Taverner involved a standard search committee, but it was wired to select the premier’s friend. The process that chose Carrique was quick and dirty. It wasn’t an open search, it didn’t benefit from the multiple points of view of a search committee nor the variety of perspectives of a short-list. And this decision fits the Ford Government’s now well-established pattern of quick and impulsive decision making (shrinking Toronto City Council and then invoking the notwithstanding clause).

We look forward to hearing from the Integrity Commissioner about the original decision. And we await the inevitable screw-ups that will result from impulsive decisions in the future.

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