Ontario | On the record – New interim CEO of Ornge letter of intro to staff

Mississauga | 12 Jan 2012

Below is a statement sent to staff from Ron McKerlie:

Yesterday the Board of Directors of Ornge announced their decision to accept the recommendations of the Government of Ontario regarding the appointment of an interim President and CEO. Following that announcement the honorable Deb Matthews, Minister for Health and Long Term Care, announced that I am their appointee and in turn I have been named interim President and CEO effective today.

Earlier today I had the opportunity to meet with a number of employees at our Mississauga location and I want to share with you some of the thoughts I shared with those I met today in person.

First let me introduce myself. My name is Ron McKerlie. I grew up in the private sector working for great Canadian companies such as Bank of Montreal and Rogers Communications and for the past six and one half years have been proud to be a public servant serving the citizens of Ontario.

My most recent position has been Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Government Services, Associate Secretary of Cabinet and Secretary of Management Board of Cabinet. In this role I have had responsibility for areas of government including Human Resources, Information Technology, Procurement, back office operations and support and oversight for agencies, among others things. On a personal note I am 53 years old, married to the same great woman for 31 years and the father of two adult sons.

My mandate for my time at Ornge is very clear. I am here to work with you to make Ornge a model organization as it relates to accountability, transparency and integrity of operations. In short to ensure Ornge is the kind of organization that each of you are proud to work for and an organization that each Ontarian will be proud to hold up as an example of tax dollars well spent for the services we provide.

Lately this organization has been in the news repeatedly for its lack of transparency including its secrecy around compensation arrangements for its senior executives. Work is well underway to change this and ensure that the salaries of all Ornge executives are disclosed in the future in a manner consistent with the Public Sector Salary Disclosure guidelines.

As you know, an audit team from the Ministry of Finance has been engaged to review our operations and provide suggestions as to ways in which our operations can be improved to provide the increasing levels of accountability and transparency that I have already referenced. Jim McCarter, Ontario’s Auditor General, has also indicated he will be undertaking a Value for Money Audit of Ornge’s operations which in turn will also provide insight which will be helpful to inform changes that need to be made.

However, some of these changes don’t have to wait for the auditors reports to get underway. Work has already begun to simplify Ornge’s corporate structure and to bring the operations of Ornge Global Corporate Services and Ornge Global Air back under the control of Ornge where they will be operated on a not-for-profit basis I’d like to thank the existing management team for getting this work underway.

A separate review of our governance and oversight practices will be undertaken to help inform changes that will set us up as a future model of best practice in the area of board governance and board oversight.

We will also be undertaking an immediate review of areas where publically funded organizations sometimes trip up. These areas include procurement practices, the claiming and reporting of personal expenses and our alignment around the provision of perks and the expensing of alcohol with government rules covering these same issues.

Over the course of the next few months we will be creating a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care to ensure our plans are aligned with the broader health needs and goals of the Province.

I’d like to shift gears for a moment and talk not about plans and change but rather about people.

Ornge has been blessed with having many dedicated staff and some strong leadership in key positions. First of all let me acknowledge and say thank you to Tom Lepine for stepping in and for stepping up after Dr. Chris Mazza went on an indefinite medical leave. Tom, I look forward to your continued support as we work together to make this organization the model of accountability, transparency and integrity of operations that I know you too desire for Ornge.

Secondly, to all of our employees within Ornge; to those of you who come to work every day to make a difference in the lives of Ontario citizens who in turn benefit from the medical transport services that you provide, thank you. As I have heard the Premier say on many occasions, we live (and work) in the best Province in the best country in the world. It is a privilege to serve and to be in service to the citizens of Ontario who are both our clients as well as our investors and we should never take for granted the duty we have to uphold that public trust.

I know this is an organization of some 400 employees and the reason that I am here today is the result of the actions of only a very few. I bring no silver bullets, no magic wand that will make the problems go away, only experience and a certainty that doing the right thing every day for the citizens we serve is a great place to start.

To the vast majority of employees I want to say that I honor and respect the terrific work you do. Each day you provide medical attention and transport to people whose very lives depend on the services you help provide. That is admirable work and I hope you continue to be extremely proud of the difference you make in the quality of life and health care service in this great province.

Regards,
Ron McKerlie

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