Hiring of school director's husband raises concerns in French community

The hiring of a communications officer for the French Language School Board has raised concerns about a conflict of interest within the French community.

Board says procedures were followed and the director played no part in the hiring process

Daniel Bourgeois was recently hired as the new communications officer for the French Language School Board on P.E.I. (CBC)

The hiring of a communications officer for the French Language School Board in P.E.I. has raised concerns within the French community  about a conflict of interest.

Daniel Bourgeois was recently hired to a three-year contract as the new communications officer.

However, as husband of the school board's executive director, Anne Bernard-Bourgeois, he will report directly to her.

Guy LaBonte, president of the Société Saint-Thomas-D'Aquin (SSTA) and a spokesperson for the Island's Francophonie, said there was a strong reaction to the hiring. He recently wrote a letter to the school board relaying the concerns of French residents.

"It was very difficult for us to take a position — initially we were reluctant to take a position at all — but because of the amount of feedback we got from our members, we felt we needed to take a position," he said. "I think they need to look at the situation, we've let them know that there's concern out there, that people believe there's a potential conflict and they need to examine that closely and its their decision to take after that."

Director removed herself from hiring process

Emile Gallant, the president of the school board, said the board followed the necessary policy in hiring a family member and it was a competitive process to fill the job.

"A person that was potentially in a conflict was never involved with the process, never involved with the committee," Gallant said. "At the end, the person with the highest marks and the best candidate was recommended to the board and the board approved that decision."

He said because the French community is small that these things can happen and that anyone with concerns can call or email the board.​

Daniel Bourgeois told CBC he did not want to speak to the concerns, although he said he's happy to take on the role with the French Language School Board.

With files from Cody MacKay