Flatlander takes the high jump

The assistant deputy minister responsible for the ministry of children and family development's early childhood development policy and support team is going bye-bye, Public Eye has learned. Just three years ago, Marilyn Hedlund, was hired with much fanfare as British Columbia's new child welfare director. She was transferred to her present post in March 2008. And now, according to an email sent yesterday to staff by deputy minister Lesley du Toit, Ms. Hedlund has "elected to leave the ministry after a brief period of assisting with transition in the coming weeks."

But she's not the only departure. According to the email, the ministry's chief information officer will now be reporting to executive financial officer Sarf Ahmed, who adds the title of assistant deputy minister of corporate management to his business card. As result, the present chief information officer Karen Dellert has "has also decided to leave the ministry." The following is a complete copy of the aforementioned email.


Dear colleagues,

We are moving forward now to the next phase of transformative work. The emphasis for the next few years will be on making the practice change and service delivery improvements increasingly evident at a community and regional level.

Consistent with Strong, Safe and Supported, we have made a commitment to ensure a fully integrated continuum of services to children, youth and families and to strengthening very young children in order to prevent vulnerability. To that end, Child Care and Early Childhood Development will be realigned within the ministry as an opportunity to ensure that a focus on young children is evident throughout the service system for children and families. It is in this context that Marilyn Hedlund has elected to leave the ministry after a brief period of assisting with transition in the coming weeks.

Marilyn has served the children and families in the province both as the Provincial Director of Child Welfare and then as ADM, Early Years. We want to thank her for her exceptional work and commitment and contribution to the transformation of services. I also want to thank Marilyn for her role in the leadership team of MCFD and wish her every success for the future.

These decisions will result in some shifts for staff in terms of reporting relationships as follows. The Early Childhood Educator Registry will move to Sandra Griffin's portfolio in Integrated Quality Assurance and Early Years Policy will join the other policy teams reporting to Mark Sieben in the Integrated Policy and Legislation team. The Child Care Resource and Referral Centres will become the responsibility of the regions.

Sarf Ahmed will take on an expanded leadership role in the position of ADM, Corporate Management. A number of business and services areas within Child Care will begin reporting to Sarf including Child Care Subsidy and Child Care Programs and Services. Sarf will also now take on the ADM responsibilities for the Integrated Case Management work (ICM) and the Chief Information Officer will report directly to him.

With the shift in accountabilities for the Chief Information Officer, Karen Dellert has also decided to leave the ministry. Karen has played a key leadership role in ICM and made a very valuable contribution to this aspect of transformation which is key to more effective work with and for children and families. Karen is a long time public servant in BC, having worked in various capacities in a number of different ministries. She has also been a valued member of our leadership team and we deeply appreciate her dedication, hard work and exceptional contribution to transformation. We wish her well in her future endeavors. Gina Pala will be acting in the CIO role until such time as we are able to appoint a new CIO.

I understand that changes like these can be difficult, particularly at a time when budgets are stretched and people are feeling unsure. I want to reassure you that, other than changes in reporting relationships and the possibility that some roles will shift within current positions, there will be no other impacts to staff as the result of these changes.

If you have any questions or concerns about these changes, I encourage you to speak to a member of the Leadership Team or send a message to me at MCF.DeputyMinistersOffice@gov.bc.ca.

Finally, I do realize that in addition to staff, our colleagues in the Early Years sector may have questions about the integration of Child Care and ECD to establish a full continuum of services. My expectations is that we will continue to deliver these services with the same commitment and dedication as we always have and will be consistently looking for ways to improve these services within our transformation agenda. Please do feel that you can contact Sarf Ahmed or me if you have questions or concerns over the coming weeks.


Lesley du Toit

Deputy Minister

1 Comment

#1. Gov't e-mail written like a true bureaucrat. When I heard the Honourable Mary Polak, MLA last night... she spoke directly & bluntly. Perhaps Her Maryesty needs to have a staffer make for Lesley a "Mary's Greatest Hits" tape... or have her watch the 25 and growing YouTubes our hero stars in so she can learn to speak directly and bluntly, not like a bureaucrat. Or perhaps listen to this Polak "hit" on PublicEyeOnline radio - you'll have to listen to another good one - Vicki Huntington - first, but it'll be good for ya.

My point is this, my friends: If you want to be a hero, you have to lead. To lead is to communicate well. Bluntly. With as few words as possible - I know it's hard. But I watch and have watched Polak, Campbell, Pupatello, Blair and Churchill do it as a fan of oratory firepower.

#2. That rant aside: Why do I think Her Maryesty had a hand in this personnel change? We all know after yesterday's 5-star speech the Honourable Mary Polak, MLA is not just back in black but warrior #1 against child poverty and expects afterburning excellence... or you're out!

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