The head of the New South Wales department that hired John Barillar as New York’s trade representative has been fired.
The state’s most senior civil servant, the Premier and Cabinet Secretary Michael Cootes-Trotter, said in a statement to the media on Monday that Amy Brown will no longer be Secretary of the Department of Enterprise, Investment and Trade.
He pointed to a review of the hiring process that Ms. Brown discovered did not adhere to government ethics regulations when she forgot to tell the hiring team about discussions she had about her job search with the then-trade secretary.
“It is a great honor to serve as a senior leader of the New South Wales Public Service. With that rightfully comes a high degree of accountability,” Mr Cootes-Trotter said.
“I recognize that considering the events of the past few months, and coming under such intense public scrutiny, has placed a heavy burden on Ms Brown.
“I want to thank her for her service.”
Ms Brown, who was previously chief executive of Investment NSW, preceded Mr Coutts-Trotter’s announcement with her own LinkedIn post on Sunday, where she announced the end of her tenure.
“As a CEO and department secretary, I have learned that leadership can be challenging at times,” she wrote.
“Courageous leadership is not always comfortable. But it is a necessary part of how the civil service fulfills its professional role in supporting responsible government.”
The review, by former civil service commissioner Graham Head, said Ms Brown failed to tell the jury that Stuart Ayres had shortlisted a name, arranged a meeting with the applicant and discussed Mr Barillar’s credentials with her.
Mr Coutts-Trotter told parliament earlier this month that he was considering sacking Ms Brown after he formed a “preliminary view” that she had not done her job properly.
“It is related to her performance of that role … then of course there are the responsibilities of public servants under the code of ethics and conduct,” Mr Cootes-Trotter said in his budget assessment.
Ms. Brown, who was on a month-long vacation that ended Monday, said any breach of the code was unintentional.
Mr Ayres resigned as trade minister following the results of the executive review, although a second review into whether he had breached the ministerial code of conduct cleared him of that.
Two audits related to Barillar’s hiring cost New South Wales taxpayers more than $100,000, it was revealed last week.
Mr. Barillaro was the state’s secretary of commerce when he helped establish New York’s trading role and was appointed to the distinguished post shortly after leaving government.
He later resigned due to public outrage.
Ms Brown said she would look for a new role in the private sector.
“As for what’s next, I’m exploring new opportunities in the private sector and hope to make an announcement soon,” she wrote in a LinkedIn post.
“I look forward to reconnecting with you in due course.”
Mr Cootes-Trotter said Greater Cities Commission chief executive Elizabeth Mildwater would become acting secretary of the Department for Enterprise, Investment and Trade from Tuesday.
Originally published as Amy Brown resigns as NSW government after hiring John Barillar as New York trade envoy