Jenny West ‘upset’ after her $500,000 dream New York job was given to John Barilaro instead
Jenny West has had a great career in the private and public sectors, but she’s now best known for a job she didn’t get – despite being offered one.
After being told she had landed a $500,000 role as a trade ambassador to New York last August, Ms. West saw it snatched weeks later when the outgoing NSW Deputy Prime Minister, John Barilaro, changed the selection process, ultimately allowing him the job. claim.
Ms West, deputy secretary of Investment NSW, was not happy with the backflip, which led to an ‘irreconcilable’ situation, said the senior official who had to tell her the bad news in September.
Jenny West (pictured), was ‘extremely upset’ to learn that the plum trade ambassador role she won would be taken from her through an interview process due to a ministerial decree that ultimately led to the job being given to former Deputy Prime Minister of NSW John Barilaro
During a parliamentary inquiry on Wednesday that will look into the debacle, Commerce Secretary Amy Brown said Ms West was “very upset as a result, understandably.”
In the days after her nomination was blocked, Ms West met with NSW’s top bureaucrat, Michael Coutts-Trotter, to express her concern about what happened, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Addressing Indian students here in her capacity as Deputy Secretary of Investment NSW, Ms West was described as an ‘excellently qualified’ candidate for the New York job
Mr Coutts-Trotter, Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet, received a 45-page report from Ms West outlining her concerns about what has happened.
Ms West has now left public service with an undisclosed payout.
The New York Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner is said to have capped a resume, brimming with achievement for Ms. West.
She joined NSW after serving as the head of trade and investment at the federal agency Austrade, where she led digital innovation efforts.
Mr Barilaro, who was then the NSW Secretary of Commerce, intervened to change the process of hiring the state’s trade ambassador to the US and eventually claimed the job himself
Her private sector experience includes four years as NSW/ACT Regional Director for Telstra, where she led 130 stores and oversaw the rollout of NBN.
In her seven years at Westpac, she led the migrant and expatriate banking division and also served as general manager of the Sydney CBD business.
In 2013, she won a Westpac ‘Women of Influence’ Award for Business Results.
Ms. West is also listed as a member of the UTS Business School Industry Advisory Board and as a Governor of the US Chamber of Commerce in Australia.
Labor MP Prue Car told the parliamentary inquiry that a very talented woman had been brutally passed over for a former member of government.
“We now know that the highly skilled Jenny West was dumped by this administration and given a taxpayer funded settlement because she was offered a job which was subsequently taken from her,” said Ms. Car.
As NSW Secretary of Commerce, Mr Barilaro created the role of New York Trade Commissioner in November 2020 as part of five similar jobs in major capital cities around the world.
Trading Places – How John Barilaro Won a First-Class Performance in New York
The NSW Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner post in New York comes with a salary of $487,000 plus a living allowance of $16,000.
It was created in November 2020 along with four other similar roles by the then NSW Secretary of State for Commerce, John Barilaro.
Then NSW Assistant Secretary of Investment Jenny West was told she won the New York job in August after beating three other candidates from a select shortlist of interviewees.
Mr. Barilaro requested changes to the recruitment process at the end of September, requiring it to be signed by the state cabinet, although this has not been done.
As a result, the oral offer to Ms West was withdrawn.
The relationship between Ms West and Investment NSW then became ‘incompatible’.
The job was advertised in a process that was handled by Investment NSW and a global recruiting firm.
Mr Barilaro was offered the job orally in May, signed a three-year contract in June and is expected to take up employment in July.
He is owed a week’s salary if he is removed within his six-month probationary period. After that, he could owe the wages for the full three-year contract.
Nearly $1 million was spent refurbishing part of the Australian Consulate in New York for Mr Barilaro.
Secretary of Commerce Amy Brown worked under Barilaro when he was Secretary of Commerce.
She said she did not know if Barilaro ever asked his replacement as Commerce Secretary, Stuart Ayres, to give him the job.
Ms Brown expressed concerns in internal communications last year that Mr Barilaro’s office would try to veto the role.
She said a temporarily seconded staffer had misunderstood when she sent an email, which resurfaced, asking the prime minister for approval for two other commissioner appointments, despite the recruitment being an apolitical process.
Ms Brown said Ms West was an “outstanding candidate” who surpassed all criteria to win the New York job after beating a select shortlist of four people interviewed.
However, all appointments had to be frozen following a request on October 3 from Mr Barilaro’s office to move the positions of commissioners from an internal departmental decision to one requiring cabinet approval.
Despite the cabinet agreeing to legislate to this effect, the New York job was given without ministerial signature, unlike other similar roles.
The job was then re-listed in December and the process handled by Investment NSW and a global recruiting firm, with Mr Barilaro being announced as the successful candidate earlier this month.
NSW Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet, who called the appointment an internal public service, has launched an independent inquiry separate from the parliamentary inquiry into the recruitment process.
Barilaro withdrew from politics on October 4, just days after Gladys Berejiklian sensationally resigned as prime minister after the state’s anti-corruption watchdog, the Independent Commission Against Corruption, announced it was investigating her.
He signed a three-year contract in June to assume the position of New York’s Trade Commissioner and is expected to start in July.