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Twenty bureaucrats under investigation
Politics Watch ® News Services
November 13, 2007, updated 2:35 p.m.


OTTAWA  (PoliticsWatch.com) — The Public Service Commission (PSC) is launching an investigation into 20 public servants who once worked for Liberal and Conservative cabinet ministers.

Maria Barrados, president of the PSC, announced the investigation in her latest annual report to Parliament.  

"Our audit revealed 24 unsatisfactory staffing actions for the movement of 20 public servants," the PSC report stated.  

Barrados conducted the audit because of the interest of MPs and the government following her discovery last fall that two former Liberal aides landed what she alleged were "phantom jobs" in two separate federal departments. 

The audit released Tuesday examined 59 "staffing actions" between 1990 and 2006 where public servants worked for a cabinet minister and then returned to the public service after a year when their previous public service job was no longer protected.

The investigation found some of the public servants were able to get around those rules and have a soft landing in the bureaucracy after leaving the minister's exempt staff. 

"Positions were held for people who went to work as exempt staffers," Barrados said. "Either they were created that way before they moved or in some cases they were created while they were in the minister's office."

Of the 20 public servants who will be investigated two have already left the public service.  Only one had worked for a Progressive Conservative cabinet minister. The remainder occurred after 1996 while the Liberals were in power.  One of the public servants being investigated has a job at the executive level, according to Barrados. 

Barrados told a news conference that she cannot release the names of the 18 current public servants until the investigations are completed. The PSC Investigation Branch will conducted the probe.

"After that we will conclude whether it's an appropriate or inappropriate appointment. Depending upon the results of the investigation, yes, we have the power to revoke the positions," Barrados said. 

She said the entire process will take six to eight months. 

As of March of this year, the current Conservative government has 47 former public servants currently working in ministers' offices. 

Barrados' audit did not examine those people. 

"We're not sure whether these people who are there right now will go back (to the public service)," she said. "So we haven't looked at those particular circumstances surrounding how they got there."

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> Civil servants under investigation for working in ministerial offices 

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