The Universal Service Fund, USF, has a new Chief Executive Officer.

He is Daniel Dawes. He joined the fund on January 2. He replaces former CEO, Suzette Buchanan, who was separated from the USF amid allegations of nepotism and corruption in 2018.

The USF’s detailed statement follows a call from the Opposition for a disclosure of the process used to select Mr Dawes.

In a statement yesterday, the USF says the position of CEO was advertised in the Jamaica Observer and the Daily Gleaner on September 5 and 9 last year, with a September 21, 2018 closing date for applications.

The USF goes into exhaustive detail regarding Mr. Dawes’ confirmation to the post. It says 37 applications were received by the deadline, with seven individuals short-listed for psychometric evaluation, conducted by an independent external firm.

The USF says, 6-candidates successfully advanced to the second round of evaluation, which included panel interviews conducted over two days.

It says the four-member panel included experts in Information Technology and Staff Engagement, as well as an independent member – a retired civil servant with over 33 years’ experience in Human Resource Management, Human Resource Development and Change Management.

From the six candidates, the top three individuals based on assessment were further short-listed. According to the USF, based on the overall scores of each candidate, Mr Dawes emerged as the highest scoring, and as such was recommended to the board by the Chairman.

Mr Dawes possesses a Masters in Public Health, a Masters in Business Administration and years of experience working in the public service. His appointment comes after former CEO, Suzette Buchanan, left the post amid controversy.

She was a former JLP caretaker candidate who contested and lost the East Central St Catherine seat for the Jamaica Labour Party in the 2011 General Elections. She is also a former board member and CEO of Caymanas Track Limited.

Ms. Buchanan was separated from the agency after allegations of nepotism. It was also revealed that she was chosen for the position with only an Associate degree for a position which was advertised as requiring no less than a Masters Degree. She was also chosen over a short list of candidates which included holders of multiple Masters Degrees and PhDs.

The matter was raised during a sitting of Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee, PAAC, in November last year.