E-mail reveals Haynes was asked to find representatives for interview committee to make final recommendation on post An e-mail leaked to the South China Morning Post reveals that the former insurance manager offered the job of chief executive of the English Schools Foundation was asked to find parent representatives to sit on the selection sub-committee that appointed him. Mike Haynes, who chairs the foundation's Joint Council of Parent Teacher Associations, wrote to fellow council members - the PTA chairmen of each ESF school - on Christmas Eve. 'I have been asked by John Tustin [the ESF's director of human resources] to provide the names of two parents who would be happy to join the interview team for the prospective CEO position,' he wrote. 'The interviews take place of three likely candidates (sic) between 12-14th January although I am unsure as to the time involvement required - probably not too much. Can you please think of names and let me have them asap?' Mr Tustin yesterday said that ESF chairman Jal Shroff instructed him to ask Mr Haynes to 'seek among his constituents' a member who would be available to conduct the interviews. 'The names were forwarded to me by Mike,' he said. Christine Austin, chair of Clearwater Bay School's PTA, was the only parent available for all three days of the interviews, he said. 'I was perfectly satisfied that she was a suitable substitute for Mike to sit on that final interview panel. I am totally satisfied she was impartial.' If Mr Haynes had not been a candidate, he would have been on the sub-committee, as JCPTA chairman. Mr Haynes left it until December 24 to send out the request, when many parents were out of Hong Kong. But Mr Tustin confirmed yesterday that the candidates - including Mr Haynes - were informed of their selection to the final three on December 11. After the interviews, Ms Austin voted alongside Mr Shroff and ESF vice-chairman John Shanahan in favour of Mr Haynes' appointment. Of the other two members, one abstained and one voted against. Christine Houston, a parent who plans to set up a website to campaign against the controversial appointment and who works in the recruitment industry, said: 'This never should have happened, that the person who was a candidate should be allowed to send out the requests as to who should be on the selection committee. 'It speaks very poorly of the ESF. The minute Mike Haynes was nominated he should have stepped down from all positions in the ESF because it is an absolute conflict of interest. It gave him the opportunity to filter and choose who would be most sympathetic. It is a corruption of the whole process.' The selection should be started again, she said. Ms Austin said that when she responded to the e-mail she had no knowledge that the JCPTA chair was among the candidates. Other council members were also in the dark. 'We were gobsmacked,' said one, who confirmed that several members responded to the request but that there was no discussion among them as to who should be representative. The JCPTA member said that when they received Mr Haynes' e-mail they had no idea what the interviews involved, or that they would have the power to make the final recommendation on the appointment. Mr Shroff yesterday defended Mr Haynes' role: 'As chairman of the JCPTA it was his job to call his members and find a person who was available. The procedure used was perfectly normal.' The JCPTA will meet on Tuesday to decide how a parent representative should vote on the ESF's executive committee on February 10 which must ratify the decision. Mr Shroff stands by Mr Haynes' selection on account of 'his knowledge of the ESF, past record, entrepreneurial qualities, references and our own knowledge of him'. 'Psychometric tests, which were very thorough, declared him the ideal candidate,' he said. Mr Haynes' selection for the job - with a salary of around $160,000-a-month plus housing - has provoked a bitter row in the ESF after none of three expert panels that also interviewed him thought he was suitable because he lacked the necessary qualifications. Mr Haynes yesterday e-mailed JCPTA members saying he would resign as chair at the Tuesday meeting 'in order to clear at least one hurdle that seems to be complicating an already difficult position'. He has declined to comment further.