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By Rhonda Spivak, December 11, 2011

In my respectful view it was incumbant upon the Simkin Centre Board to advertise for an interim CEO (it is apparently about to hire) in a careful,prudent and thorough manner.

Where did the Simkin Centre advertise this posiiton? I am not aware of anywhere they advertised ?

Did they advertise in the  Winnipeg Free Press? The Globe and Mail? The National Post?

Did they advertise the position in Jewish publications in Canada ? (i.e. the Canadian Jewish News, etc)

Since Peter Kafka's report suggested it would be preferable for the Centre to hire a Jewish CEO, would it be worth ensuring suitable Jewish out of province candidates apply?  Where did the Simkin Centre advertise out of province?

As Prof Alan Levy , who has an extensive background in human resources and health care has told the Winnipeg Jewish Review "If the Centre didn't advertise widely across the country, then there are going to be questions about this process in the community, and they ought to start the process again, before hiring anyone. It is key that the process is perceived by all stakeholders as a fair, open and equable process, and that that  the most qualified person got the job among those that applied. Transparency is key at this point for all management processes for the Centre."

Has the  WHRA overseen this process?


The Board of the Simkin Centre has a large decision to make regarding an acting CEO. Peter Kafka has suggested in his report that preference be given to a Jewish candidate, if possible. All other things being equal I agree.

Being a Jewish Seniors Home is part of the  Simkin Centre's mission statement, such that Jewishness can clearly be a factor.

But this isn’t a simple matter. In my view it would be better to hire a more competent non-Jewish CEO than a less competent Jewish one. This mean that being Jewish cannot be a necessary condition to fill the job.   

In a small community such as ours, if a Jewish CEO is chosen, there could be potential conflicts of interest, could there not?  Will the Simkin Board be enacting conflict of interest rules and regulations, in the event that a local Jewish CEO is chosen, to the extent that the position may involve life and death decisions? 

What happens if there is a split in the Board over the choice of an interim CEO ? This could further divide an already divided community. It would be best in my view if a consensus was arrived at in choosing a candidate, after a full deliberation of the issues involved.

In the event that any candidate now applying for the position has spoken to the media since the death of Lilian Peck, I hope this will not count against them in applying as  CEO.

Given this Simkin Board has not been chosen under a new reformed process and is being tasked with a significant decision  has the WHRA provided guidance  in  choosing the interim CEO? If not, ought Peter Kafka have been on the hiring committee?
Is the Board choosing an interim CEO or is it likely that Sandra Delorme Given will not be returning and the decision in fact could mean that the interim CEO will have could be an applicant (and have a distinct advantage) in being hired as a long term CEO?  Will this person hired be declaring they have no intention of staying on longer than on an interim basis or will they potentially be applying long term?
How long will be the term of hiring of the new interim CEO and will there be any conditions related to the forming of a new reform process for choosing the next Board?

If the Board doesn’t hire a Jewish candidate that has applied, it won’t be too long before the community will find out who it was that was not chosen.  All the more reason to ensure that the process is complete, and as fair as possible.

Will the choice affect Harvey Berkal’s decision to continue with his private prosecution or not? On this front it is not clear what the status is of the prosecution. The Crown has still not made it clear what it intends on doing in terms of intervening and taking over the process or not.

Is Phyllis Spigelman taking part in the decision  as to which interim CEO to hire? She has stepped aside regarding regarding the investigation of how  Sandra Delorme's contract was extended. But is she still a Board member?

This matter is really not simple at all. Far from it.  In my view—it is better for the Board not to rush making a decision and take an extra week or two examining all the considerations before making its choice.And if they have not advertised the position properly across the country then they ought to consider starting from scratch.

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.