The Secretary-General of the Department of Finance is probably the most important job in the Irish civil service. With Kevin Cardiff’s imminent departure, the job has been publicly advertised and a shortlist arrived at.
Given the negative ramifications of the past mistakes made by the Department, one might have hoped that all efforts would be made to ensure that a good field of candidates is obtained and that the recruitment process would be run in a professional manner.
How’s it working out? Well, yesterday’s Irish Times confirms a story that has been run before, namely that “No expenses were paid for candidates travelling to Dublin to be interviewed for the position.” The government may as well have put up a sign to say “those working outside Ireland are not welcome”.
In addition, we are now informed
THE GOVERNMENT’S choice of a successor to Kevin Cardiff as secretary general of the Department of Finance is now expected to come from within the public service.
With morale in the department extremely low as a result of the economic crisis and the controversy over Mr Cardiff’s departure, appointing an outsider is being viewed within the Government as a risky strategy.
Appointing an external candidate to “shake up” the department would serve only to further demoralise staff, according to one source familiar with the process.
The article tells us that
The recruitment process, which includes the creation of a shortlist and up to two rounds of interviews, is being run by the Top Level Appointments Committee (TLAC). Five of the committee’s nine members, including chairwoman Maureen Lynott, are from the private sector.
At this point, a public statement from the TLAC that they are running a process with the sole aim of appointing the best-qualified person to the job would be welcome. A re-think on the policy of not paying for travel expenses would also be welcome.