The executive director of MediaToday took aim at a recent decision to award a former PBS head over €200,000 as compensation for an unjust sacking.
In a strongly worded editorial in today’s edition of Illum, Saviour Balzan called out Doreen Parnis, an industrial tribunal member key in awarding John Bundy €226,489 as part of a recent ruling.
“Without reading the documents in front of her, she’s decided in favour of John Bundy, someone who we know as the biggest turncoat and someone synonymous with the phrase ‘pajjiż tal-Mickey Mouse‘,” Balzan said.
“Parnis either doesn’t know how to read, or didn’t read at all, so much so that she said the PBS Board fired Bundy before an auditor’s report had been released. Where has this woman been living?” he asked, going on to explain the board in question did not fire him and that he had been appointed by former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.
Balzan recounted how he had told Muscat that Bundy’s appointment was a mistake, but that Muscat remained “silent” on the issue.
Bundy had been sacked in 2017 after a PBS board delivered an unanimous verdict of no confidence following allegations that the national broadcaster’s acquisition of cars had breached procurement rules. Bundy, a popular former TV presenter, proceeded to sue PBS for unfair dismissal.
The two figures have had some personal clashes in the past.
As PBS CEO, Bundy had wanted to move Balzon’s show Xtra from its prime time slot. He said the show, which was funded by the government, was not commercially viable for PBS, and had low audience ratings.
This reportedly led to a major reaction from Balzan, who apparently called Bundy to tell him: “You will do as I say.” Bundy recounted how he ended up fighting with the PBS board over the show, but finally relented and let Balzan keep his slot.
However, it was after this clash that more scrutiny was placed on Bundy, leading to the discovery of his car procurement deal.
Balzan said Bundy “could basically care less” when it comes to standard procedures, such as in regards to the procurement of cars.
Just today, MaltaToday revealed that Bundy had ignored advice to issue a tender over the car leasing deal, instead “steaming ahead” with a €400,000 deal with Burmarrad Commercials.
This was in violation of PBS procurement procedures, an internal inquiry carried out by auditing firm RSM found.
The criticism didn’t end there, with Balzan saying Bundy shouldn’t have ever been appointed head of PBS at all.
“Bundy was not worthy of being the PBS CEO. To present a programme on the radio, as my mother would say, that’s fine… but to run a station that is our public broadcasting, no. That was a major mistake.”
He ended by urging PBS to appeal the decision to pay out such a large sum over the dismissal.