Analysis: Why hire a lawyer to run eHealth?

Kathleen Wynne, left, with her partner Jane Rounthwaite in Toronto on January 9, 2013. (Veronica...

Kathleen Wynne, left, with her partner Jane Rounthwaite in Toronto on January 9, 2013. (Veronica Henri/QMI Agency)

Christina Blizzard, Queen's Park Columnist

, Last Updated: 7:31 AM ET

TORONTO -- By all accounts, David Rounthwaite is a highly respected lawyer and all-around nice guy.

He's the new interim CEO of the troubled eHealth agency. And he's Premier Kathleen Wynne's brother-in-law.

Don't get me wrong.

I'm sure he's a top-notch corporate guy.

I just can't believe in the whole of this great city that eHealth couldn't find someone who wasn't related to the premier to run the agency.

Rounthwaite is the brother of Wynne's wife, Jane Rounthwaite.

The Liberals argue that he was general counsel to eHealth for four years prior to becoming CEO March 7. He won't be getting an increase to his $210,000 a year salary. And the appointment was by an unanimous vote of the board.

OK, where to start?

Four years ago, Wynne may not have been premier but she was a senior member of Dalton McGuinty's cabinet.

Was it appropriate to hire him as general counsel back then?

The other problem I have is why we're hiring a lawyer to run what is essentially a data management company?

Why aren't we hiring someone with a degree in computer engineering or some other technical background?

Governments of all political stripes have demonstrated over again that they simply cannot manage big IT projects.

Why?

My suspicion is they put the wrong people in the wrong jobs -- and they get bamboozled.

Rob Mitchell, eHealth spokesman, confirmed Rounthwaite is "not a tekkie."

Then there's the unanimous vote.

So no one on the eHealth board said, "Hold on, guys. Let's just step back and take a look at the optics of this"?


Videos

Photos