USF ad­mits ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor hired daugh­ter for more than a year

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Ro­mario Scott/Gleaner Writer ro­mario.scott@glean­

THE UNIVER­SAL Ser­vice Fund (USF) is mov­ing to close pol­icy loop­holes as it has been re­vealed that Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor Camille Buchanan had hired her daugh­ter for more than a year to work as a so­cial me­dia man­ager.

The USF falls un­der the Min­istry of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy for which em­bat­tled min­is­ter An­drew Wheat­ley has over­sight.

Chair­man of the USF board, Robert Lawrence, told The Gleaner that Buchanan’s daugh­ter, who had been vol­un­teer­ing at the fund for a month be­fore be­ing em­ployed, re­ceived a salary of $80,000 per month. He dis­closed that an­other long-stand­ing em­ployee also had her daugh­ter em­ployed to the fund since Novem­ber 2017.


How­ever, in seek­ing to jus­tify the ques­tion­able em­ploy­ment, Lawrence said that the prac­tice had been in place and there were no spe­cific guide­lines. The two em­ploy­ees even­tu­ally re­signed some­time i n May be­fore the mat­ter was brought to the board’s at­ten­tion.

Lawrence con­tended that al­though Buchanan had sought ad­vice on the hir­ing of her daugh­ter and was told it was per­mis­si­ble, it was a “bad judg­ment call”.

In the af­ter­math, the board rep­ri­manded t he ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor in a strongly worded let­ter, but did not con­sider the mat­ter se­ri­ous enough to fire her.

“No, no, we did not dis­cuss dis­missal be­cause we took into con­sid­er­a­tion the whole sit­u­a­tion and also the fact that the vis­i­bil­ity of the USF has been sig­nif­i­cantly in­creased over the pe­riod,” Lawrence stated when quizzed about the fu­ture of Buchanan.

He re­ported that the board had moved to im­ple­ment five poli­cies ad­dress­ing pro­cure­ment, hu­man re­sources, projects, finance and trea­sury. Specif­i­cally, he men­tioned the board’s in­tent on ex­am­in­ing and craft­ing pol­icy sur­round­ing the hir­ing of fam­ily mem­bers whether for sum­mer em­ploy­ment or other­wise.

“We are sat­is­fied that we dealt [ad­e­quately] with the mat­ter and we will be look­ing at oth­ers,” Lawrence vowed. “Gover­nance is an ever evolv­ing is­sue, and as we move along we have to ad­dress is­sues,” he added.


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