REVEALED: Public Trustee appointed after two-year scandal
The beleaguered Queensland Public Trustee‘s Office has a new head, with Acting Public Trustee Samay Zhouand appointed to the post for three years.
Attorney General and Minister of Justice Shannon Fentiman said Mr Zhouand would bring extensive experience in public administration and the Queensland legal system to the role in which he has served since 2019.
Mr Zhouand’s appointment comes after two tumultuous years for the Public Trustee, who has not had a permanent leader since Peter Carne resigned in June 2019.
Mr Carne has been suspended by the government following allegations of workplace intoxication during working hours, absence during working hours and intimidation.
Mr Carne was cleared by the Crime and Corruption Commission of allegations of misconduct. In August of last year, he decided to retire after the CCC advised that he would not lay charges.
Minister Fentiman said Zhouand had undertaken considerable reform within the organization since taking office, and that work would now continue under his leadership.
“During his tenure as Interim Public Trustee, Mr. Zhouand has worked tirelessly to implement new client-focused strategies within the Public Trustee,” she said.
“He successfully led the organization through the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring clients had continued access to essential services provided by the public trustee, and positioned the organization for post-pandemic economic recovery.”
Mr. Zhouand was the successful candidate among internal and external applicants.
Prior to assuming the role of Acting Public Trustee, Mr Zhouand held senior positions in Queensland Corrections and the former Department of Community Safety.
In March, a shocking report revealed hundreds of vulnerable Queenslanders had been overcharged by the public trustee, with the report raising “serious concerns” about how the authority handles its clients’ money.
Ms Fentiman revealed that the state government would set up a public trustee board to oversee and direct the office.
“The board will improve the performance, transparency and accountability of the Public Trustee and increase public confidence in this valuable service,” she said.
“It is clear that the agency needs to be more transparent about its fees and charges.”
The Public Trustee is committed to increasing transparency, simplifying its cost structure and re-focusing on clients.
Originally published as REVEALED: Public Trustee appointed after two years of scandal