Lean spending, hiring continues during hiring freeze

The government has imposed a selective hiring and spending freeze, but that doesn’t appear to apply to its pet project as the bonanza of wasteful spending on the toxic John Black version of Lean continues.

A job posting for a permanent, full-time management position as a Lean Specialist in the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region was posted in January, showing that hiring and spending on Lean is not subject to the freeze the premier announced in December.

More ongoing wasteful spending on Lean includes:

  • A Lean Kaizen Fellows program has been created in the Saskatoon Health Region. Three employees, each earning about $150,000 a year, have been taken off their regular jobs in the Saskatoon health region to work only on the John Black Lean program. Their job appears to include liaising with other hospitals John Black and Associates works with or hopes to work with.

  • Eight senior management positions are devoted to Lean in the Saskatoon Health Region, according to an organizational chart. Each of those Lean specialists is each in charge of entire teams or departments of more Lean specialists.

  • An 18-member Kaizen Operations team is a permanent addition to the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region.

  • The Kaizen Promotion Office in Regina has a staff of 20 devoted to promoting Lean.

These 50 jobs alone are likely costing taxpayers more than $5 million a year, but are also just the tip of the iceburg, since there are several other Kaizen Promotion Offices throughout the province, and health care workers from across the province report Lean specialists being added to their staff while front-line staff works short.

“We’re talking about millions and millions of dollars now going to the salaries of people assigned to carry out John Black’s Lean programming. And, it looks like the hiring continues,” said NDP Lean critic Warren McCall. “This is a complete waste of taxpayer money, and it is a stark example of this government’s misplaced priorities.

“Shift after shift, there are not enough hands on the front lines of hospitals and seniors care homes, but the management offices are bursting at the seams.”

McCall said the NDP is calling for the millions of dollars in ongoing, annual Lean spending to be redirected to the front lines of care. He also demanded a complete list of what is, and what it not, subject to the premier’s hiring and spending freeze.

“When Mr. Wall says he’s freezing hiring and unnecessary spending, does that mean the Lean trips to Seattle and Utah have stopped?” McCall asked.

“The government has admitted it’s struggling with this budget this year – but it continues to waste millions and throw millions more away. It can’t cut services and ask families to pay more while it’s shovelling good money after bad on things like Lean.”

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For more information, contact:
Erin Morrison, NDP caucus