Editorial: Not out of the woods

POSTED: 01/25/15 9:06 PM

Labor conflicts like the one involving attorney Ellen Knoppel show how the inner workings of the government apparatus sometimes shortchange people who mistakenly think they have a steady job.

Knoppel went on a rollercoaster ride whereby her one-year contract first became permanent, before she was fired for no apparent reason at all.

In summary proceedings that permanent contract was declared invalid, based on the Supreme Court’s departure-policy ruling, and now the ministry is on the losing end of the dispute with a ruling that has declared the dismissal unreasonable.

What remains puzzling is that former Justice Minister Duncan produced a positive advice about Knoppel’s value for his department – four days after he left office. That is a detail for the history books and it has no relevance for the attorney’s predicament.

Knoppel is not out of the woods yet, because the ruling is open for appeal. However, the court’s assessment ought to give some reason for thought – and for a more careful handling of personnel affairs when there is a change of the guard.

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