Thursday, May 30, 2013

The PM's Performance Review

       Treasury Board President Tony Clement recently announced that he is “drawing a line in the sand” by implementing new mandatory performance agreements for federal employees. “I want to be crystal clear,” said Clement. “Either poor performers improve and become productive employees or we will let them go.”
  If the government is serious about this new initiative, we should soon be seeing the following performance review for our country’s top federal employee:

NAME: Stephen Harper
POSITION: Prime Minister
GOALS: The incumbent set certain goals for himself over the last few years including the following:
(1)  To oversee the nation’s finances and ensure that the annual budget is in surplus thereby reducing the national debt
(2)  To implement and enforce stringent ethical guidelines thus ensuring the effective and efficient deployment of government resources
(3)  To eliminate patronage in the federal appointments process
(4) To efficiently oversee Canada’s military and reign in unnecessary expenditures
(5) To reverse the previous trend to ignore democratic traditions and to instead honor and abide by  fair democratic principles and procedures
(6) To effectively delegate various responsibilities to ministers of the Crown in order to effect a more efficient federal public service
ASSESSMENT: The incumbent has failed to meet the basic requirements of the job. As for his specific goals:
(1) When the incumbent assumed his position, there was a significant annual budgetary surplus and the national debt was on a downward trend. In short order, he managed to convert that surplus to an ongoing annual deficit thereby increasing significantly the national debt. The incumbent has repeatedly assured his employer that this matter would soon be rectified but no sensible fiscal solution appears to be forthcoming.
(2) The incumbent initially made a strong commitment to the creation, implementation and enforcement of strong ethical guidelines for himself and all others at the federal level. Unfortunately, he has failed to match that commitment with commensurate action. In fact, he appears to have surpassed his predecessors in appointing his friends and allies to the Senate and all manner of boards and tribunals.
(3) (see no. 2 above)
(4) The incumbent has failed to reign in military expenditures. If fact, he appears to be engaged in an ongoing military hardware shopping spree that is costing the Canadian taxpayer countless billions of dollars. In particular, the incumbent entered into an untendered sole-source contract to buy F-35 fighter jets and his delegates misled the public as to the real cost of that contract.
(5)  The incumbent has been successful in publicly stating his faith in our democratic institutions. Again, however, he has failed to match his actions to his faith as evidenced by his willingness to prorogue Parliament for his own personal political gain.
(6) Delegation has not been the incumbent’s strong suit. Rather than truly delegate various of his functions to his ministers, he has retained almost all decision making powers and reduced his ministers to powerless minions. His preference for micro-managing has damaged not only his position but has also undermined the authority of dozens of ministers thereby limiting the flexibility and accountability of the government as a whole.
RECOMMENDATION:  In summary, the incumbent’s performance is unsatisfactory. Given that he has been given numerous opportunities to meet his goals but has still failed to fulfill them, there seems little point in prolonging his current probationary status. Rather, it is time to terminate the incumbent and replace him with a younger, fresher, more flexible face.
(Note to the incumbent: You have the right to have this assessment reviewed at the next level. In this case, the next level comprises the Canadian electorate. You are free to “call an election” at any time and ask the Canadian public to overturn this review’s recommendation.)

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