The Toronto mayoral race appears to be heating up as the Ford campaign begins to use George Smitherman's past as Health Minister for the province of Ontario to score debating points. Ford questioned Smitherman about a single source contract awarded a vendor as part of the e-Health program to put Smitherman on the spot. Smitherman ended up denying any involvement in choosing the vendor or awarding them the contract, but I'm sure we'll be hearing lots more about George's history with the program between now and election night.
I wrote a piece about the e-Health fiasco
and updated that information
when the new CEO described a change in direction for the media. The interesting thing about the Smitherman situation is that regardless of whether he had any information about the contract Ford questioned him about, he was Health Minister from 2003 to 2008 when the bulk of the $647M (CAD) was spent and all the single sourced contracts were awarded. Smitherman handed the health portfolio over to David Caplan who subsequently designed when the scandal hit the media in 2009. Ron Sapsford, the deputy minister, also resigned.
It's interesting that neither of the candidates opposing Smitherman in this race have chosen to focus on George's past as Minister of Health. I would think there would be lot's of political points to be scored there, particularly if you are positioning yourself as someone who will be a careful shepherd of the public's tax money. Regardless of George's ability to deal with the question that Ford raised, he would still seem vulnerable as the person who had overall responsibility for the e-Health program (and its predecessor) during the period that auditors found all the procurement irregularities.
There is a point to this blog for project managers, even though George Smitherman is a politician. The stink of the mistakes we make as project managers will follow us long after the project is complete. We not only have to avoid our mistakes, but those of others on the team. Any mistake on a project we are given responsibility for and authority over will be ours regardless of whether we made the mistake ourselves or someone on the project team made it.