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Jamaica: Hiring Practices In Public Sector Under Scrutiny

The Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica (HRMAJ) has weighed in on public debate about governance issues and hiring practices in the public sector.

On July 30, HRMAJ President Karl Williams wrote to the prime minister expressing “great concern” at the events unfolding at the state-run Petrojam.

In an open letter to Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Williams said he was “disappointed by some of what we have heard in relation to governance breakdowns at Petrojam … “.

The letter commented on recruitment of executives in the public sector, including the human resources manager at Petrojam, Yolande Ramharrack.

At a meeting of Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) in early July, Ramharrack admitted that the advertisement to which she responded for the position required applicants to have a master’s degree in business administration, which she did not have when she applied for the job in February 2017.

The HRMAJ argued that the recruitment of executives, including the HR head at Petrojam, is a role of the chief executive officer, supported as required by the HR Committee of the board of directors.

“We note, however, that although it is not unusual for skilled external resources to support panel interviews in public-sector entities, the panel selection raises questions that must be definitively answered and must not leave doubts about whether there was a contrived arrangement to shoo-in a candidate,” Williams contended.

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