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HomeMiscellanyMystery surrounds education ministry shake-up

Mystery surrounds education ministry shake-up

Bob Mackin

A change in the upper ranks of the Ministry of Education, before a new government is sworn-in. 

George Farkas

theBreaker has learned that Assistant Deputy Minister George Farkas was terminated June 5. 

Deputy Education Minister Dave Byng did not respond to a query from theBreaker. Ministry spokesman Brett Lowther refused to comment. 

Reached by phone late afternoon on June 7, Farkas only said: “There was an announcement that I’m no longer with the public service, and I’ll leave it at that.”

Farkas was paid $184,650 for the year-ended March 31, 2016, according to public accounts. He was named ADM of Community, Sport and Cultural Development in December 2011 and later transferred to treasury board, where he was deputy secretary and ADM. In February 2016, he became ADM of Education in charge of resource management and corporate services. 

Last year, the ministry was preoccupied with the situation at the Vancouver School Board, where the Green-supported, Vision Vancouver trustees were accused of bullying staff amid a budget dispute with Victoria. Minister Mike Bernier fired all elected officials last October and installed Dianne Turner as the trustee. 

While Byng and his wife Cheryl were away on a business trip to Colombia in the latter half of March (Byng claims it was a person trip on which he elected to represent the province at various meetings), Farkas was involved in several high-level meetings with: school board chairs for a budget update (March 24), Bernier, to prepare for his meeting with Turner (March 27), and the meeting between Bernier, Turner and VSB Superintendent Scott Robinson (March 28). 

Lindsay Kislock

Also on June 5, Robinson announced he would resign from VSB effective the end of this week. It is not known whether there is any connection to Farkas’s departure. 

UPDATE: The Tyee’s Andrew MacLeod reported June 20 that another ADM is gone. Lindsay Kislock resigned her post in the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in early June. Kislock was the ADM in the Ministry of Health as the health firings scandal unfolded in 2012. She became the Mining Association of B.C.’s new vice-president of corporate affairs.