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Public servant listed complaints about trade job appointee Jenny West before John Barilaro took role

Public servant listed complaints about trade job appointee Jenny West before John Barilaro took role #Public #servant #listed #complaints #trade #job #appointee #Jenny #West #John #Barilaro #role Welcome to TmZ Blog, here is the new story we have for you today:

A senior public servant has given an extraordinary list of reasons as to why she ditched the top candidate for a prized $500,000 trade ambassador’s job in New York City. 

Jenny West was set to be handed her dream job as NSW trade commissioner in New York however was passed over in favour of the state’s ex-deputy premier John Barilaro.

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Now, Investment NSW chief executive Amy Brown has told an in-camera session of a to a parliamentary inquiry that she received several complaints about Ms West, prior to withdrawing the job offer.

According to transcripts of a private inquiry hearing reported in The Australian, Ms Brown said she received the complaints about Ms West after appointing her to the plum role in August of last year. 

Ms Brown told the inquiry that she received feedback Ms West ‘was having long periods of time not in the office but then wasn’t explaining or producing any output for why she was not available – including trips to Canberra, where I believe one of her daughters was at university’. 

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NSW trade secretary Amy Brown (above) told an inquiry that she after appointing Jenny West to the prized trade ambassador role she received damning feedback on Ms West, according to leaked transcripts of an in-camera session looking into the selection process

NSW trade secretary Amy Brown (above) told an inquiry that she after appointing Jenny West to the prized trade ambassador role she received damning feedback on Ms West, according to leaked transcripts of an in-camera session looking into the selection process

Ms West was accused of often not being in office and taking trips to Canberra, where her daughter was at university, without conducting official meetings

Ms West was accused of often not being in office and taking trips to Canberra, where her daughter was at university, without conducting official meetings  

‘Subsequent to me finally relaying to her that she was not going to get the job, we did do some due diligence on her diary and, indeed, it confirmed what we’d suspected – that there did not seem to be any meeting occurring,’ Ms Brown said.

Ms West was also accused of taking credit for work that was instead done by her staff.  

Ms Brown said she had then taken a closer look at Ms West’s CV. 

‘Obviously, she had portrayed herself as being incredibly senior at Austrade, Westpac and Telstra. But when I actually … scratched the surface, she was not as senior as she has portrayed.

‘She tended to report to general managers, which at banks and telecommunications companies aren’t the most senior people in the organisation, and she was only at Austrade for 18 months and reported to a deputy CEO, whereas the Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner is a very senior role.’ 

Ms West, here seen addressing Indian students in her capacity as deputy secretary of Investment NSW was described as an 'eminently qualified' candidate for the New York job

Ms West, here seen addressing Indian students in her capacity as deputy secretary of Investment NSW was described as an ’eminently qualified’ candidate for the New York job

One of the parliamentarians in attendance wasn’t so impressed with the testimony.  

Shooters MP Robert Borsak accused Brown of ‘digging in there, looking for an excuse’. ‘That’s pretty low,’ he said, according to the transcript.

‘Why are you pointing at me?’ she responded.

Ms Brown told Ms West, who was then deputy secretary of Investment NSW, she would not get the job on September 17.

Ms Brown previously testified to the inquiry Ms West ‘was extremely upset about that, understandably so’. 

In the days after her appointment was blocked, Ms West met with NSW’s top bureaucrat Michael Coutts-Trotter to express her concerns about what happened, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Mr Coutts-Trotter, who is secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, was given a 45-page report by Ms West outlining her concerns over what transpired. 

Ms West has now left the public service with an undisclosed payout. 

Mr Barilaro, who was then-NSW trade minister, intervened to change the process for hiring the state's trade ambassador to the US and eventually claimed the job himself

Mr Barilaro, who was then-NSW trade minister, intervened to change the process for hiring the state’s trade ambassador to the US and eventually claimed the job himself 

As NSW trade minister, Mr Barilaro created the New York trade commissioner role in November 2020, one of five similar jobs in major capital cities across the world. 

After being offered the job in May, Mr Barilaro withdrew in June citing the controversy over the appointment.

‘It is clear that my taking up this role is now not tenable with the amount of media attention this appointment has gained,’ he said in a statement.

‘I believe my appointment will continue to be a distraction and not allow this important role to achieve what it was designed to do, and thus my decision.

‘I stress, that I have always maintained that I followed the process and look forward to the results of the review.’

Trading places: How John Barilaro won – and then relinquished – a prime New York gig

The NSW Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner post in New York comes with a $487,000 salary plus a $16,000 cost of living allowance.

It was created along with four other similar roles by then-NSW trade minister John Barilaro in November 2020.

Then-deputy secretary of Investment NSW Jenny West was told she had won the New York job in August after beating out three other candidates from a select shortlist of interviewees.

Mr Barilaro requested changes to the recruitment process in late September which required it to be signed off by state cabinet, although this has not occurred.

This led to the verbal offer to Ms West being withdrawn.

The relationship between Ms West and Investment NSW then became ‘irreconcilable’.

The job was advertised in a process handled by Investment NSW and global recruiting company.

Mr Barilaro was verbally offered the job in May, signed a three-year contract in June and was due to begin the role in July.

Nearly $1 million was spent refurbishing part of the Australian consulate in New York for Mr Barilaro to occupy.

Trade department secretary Amy Brown worked under Mr Barilaro when he was trade minister.

She said she was not aware whether Mr Barilaro ever asked his replacement as trade minister, Stuart Ayres, to give him the job.

Ms Brown expressed concerns last year in internal communications that Mr Barilaro’s office would try to veto her picks for the role.

She said a staffer on temporary secondment had misunderstood when she sent an email, since resurfaced, requesting the premier’s approval for two other commissioner appointments despite the recruitment being an apolitical process.

Ms Brown said Ms West was an ‘excellent candidate’ who had exceeded all the criteria to win the New York job after beating out a select shortlist of four people interviewed.

However, all appointments had to be frozen after a request on October 3 from Mr Barilaro’s office that commissioner positions be moved from being an in-house departmental decision to one requiring cabinet approval.

Despite cabinet agreeing to draft legislation to this effect, the New York job has been given without ministerial signing off, unlike other similar roles.

The job was then re-advertised in December and the process was handled by Investment NSW and a global recruiting company with Mr Barilaro being announced as the successful candidate earlier this month. 

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, who called the appointment an internal public service matter, has established an independent inquiry separate to the parliamentary one into the hiring process. 

Mr Barilaro retired from politics on October 4 just days after Gladys Berejiklian sensationally quit as premier when the state’s anti-corruption watchdog, the Independent Commission Against Corruption, announced it was investigating her.

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