. . . know when to fold up, know when to walk away . . .
Garrick Tremain’s cartoon, printed several days ago, shows that then Otago District Health Board chair Richard Thomson didn’t heed the words of the Gambler.
He didn’t accept the invitation to walk so Health Minister Tony Ryall relieved him of his chairmanship.
The ODT doesn’t agree with that decision:
While Mr Ryall’s demands for accountability are understandable, he picked the wrong scapegoat.
. . . It was other executives and senior staff who, surely, carried far more responsibility, particularly because warnings about Swann were not passed on.
But the Minister of Health has no control over any of these people so is it possible he’s using one of few weapons in his armoury – the right to appoint, and disappoint, the chair – to encourage the board to take further action which he can’t?
The Minister of Corrections Judith Collins is similarly constrained over the continuing employment of Barry Matthews in spite of a damning report from the auditor general about the department he heads. He is answerable to her but she is not his employer so it is up to the State Services Commission to sack him, or not.
The Prime Minister supports his minister :
“The New Zealand public is entitled to expect accountability, and quite frankly, that report made such damning reading they can have no confidence at this point that the department is following an approved set of procedures that they promised they would follow.”
The operative word is accountability.
It’s not blame or responsibility, and anyone with the ability to chair a board or lead a government department ought to understand that, and to know that it is better to fold up and walk with dignity than to wait to have your cards taken from you.