Former One TV reporter Janice Bartolo has certainly been living the life pledged by her Party’s ‘l-Aqwa Zmien’ electoral slogan – since she left the Labour Party broadcaster in 2017, she’s been hopping from one lucrative position of trust to the other, each post funded generously by the taxpayer.
The Shift is informed that in fewer than five years, Bartolo has managed to ‘find’ five different jobs, at five different government ministries or agencies, and awarded five different contracts. In some instances, the former One TV reporter was also working on two different position of trust contracts concurrently.
In 2014, while still a junior reporter at One, Bartolo was nominated by Minister Owen Bonnici – who she was dating for some time – as a board member of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra – one of many positions she occupied as government doors were thrown wide open to her as soon as she decided to move on from Labour’s ‘newsroom’.
Five years, five jobs
After Labour’s second win at the polls in 2017, Janice Bartolo, through the direct intervention of disgraced Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi, was immediately recruited as a senior manager at the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) and put on a salary scale usually given to employees with years of experience.
Working under the direct guidance of then MTA Chairman Paul Bugeja, Bartolo was entrusted with marketing MTA events, organised by Lionel Gerada, another person of trust hired in the tourism authority by Konrad Mizzi, despite his criminal record.
In 2019, Bartolo left her job at the MTA and was immediately put on the payroll of the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) through a new position of trust contract under the guidance of Chairman Victor Asciak. However, Bartolo’s stay at the Authority, which fell under the political remit of Minister Jose’ Herrera, didn’t last long after the former One TV newscaster was given a new job, with better conditions, by James Piscopo, the former Labour CEO and then-CEO of the Lands Authority.
The Shift asked for a copy of Bartolo’s contract at the Lands Authority according to the FOI Act, but the State entity refused to provide it, stating that Bartolo had only spent a few months working at the Auberge de Baviere and resigned her post in June 2021.
Two government positions at the same time
Further investigations by The Shift show that while Bartolo was still receiving remuneration from the Lands Authority, she was also, at the same time, receiving other income from a new position, given to her by Mosta-based Parliamentary Secretary Alex Muscat.
The Shift can confirm that in March 2021, when still at the Lands Authority, Bartolo signed a contract hiring her as a policy consultant with Alex Muscat and put on a Scale 3 civil service salary, one of the highest, reserved for ambassadors and director generals.
Paid as a part-time consultant for 20 hours a week, Bartolo became entitled to a pro-rata pay of €41,000 a year and an allowance of another €6,500 a year. At the same time, Bartolo started marketing herself on social media as a ‘freelance consultant’ and working for the Paradise Bay Hotel in Mellieha, her hometown.
According to her latest government contract, which runs to March 2022, and is renewable, Bartolo has been tasked by Alex Muscat to “plan and manage strategic initiatives, projects, programmes and reforms, follow up on actions and resolve conflicts and analyse and make recommendations based on emerging trends, opportunities and threats”.
Civil servants who spoke to The Shift on condition of anonymity said that Bartolo has absolutely no qualifications that equip her to handle the job given to her by the parliamentary secretary.
Alex Muscat, who served as the assistant of disgraced former OPM Chief of Staff Keith Schembri up to 2017, has a very limited portfolio and is mainly responsible for the controversial cash-for-passports scheme, now under investigation by the European Commission.
As a policy consultant, Janice Bartolo joins Nigel Vella – the former Labour Party spokesman who was hired in a permanent position at Malta Enterprise, and then given immediate leave to allow him to join the same ministry as Bartolo, as policy consultant on army and police affairs.