Former AG’s contract bent the rules

James McLeod
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John Noseworthy

It looks like Advanced Education and Skills Minister Joan Shea may have pushed the boundaries of government’s guidelines for hiring consultants when she brought in former auditor general John Noseworthy.

Noseworthy ran as a candidate for the Tories in the 2011 election five months before he was brought in as a consultant with the government on a contract which paid $98/hour, to a maximum of $150,000. He finished his work with the government in December, and was paid $148,960.

The job was not publicly advertised, and Noseworthy was hired without competition.

That seems to run contrary to the principles outlined in the Newfoundland and Labrador Treasury Board’s “Guidelines Covering the Hiring of External Consultants.”

The policy says that, “It is the intention of Government to employ, to the extent feasible, the practice of requesting multiple proposals when engaging the services of external consultants. Government favours a public request for proposals and encourages departments to use this method whenever it is feasible to do so.”

In circumstances when a public call for proposals may not be the “preferred method” the guidelines say departments and agencies should try to have some sort of competitive process.

“In such cases, departments are to invite proposals from any competent consultants as known to the departments; three proposals being considered as a minimum number,” the document says.

Noseworthy’s job was to study the operations of the Department of Advanced Education and Skills, which was created after the cabinet shuffle following the 2011 election.

The department merged the former department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment as well as the post-secondary education parts for the Department of Education.

More than four months later, Noseworthy was brought in, tasked with studying the works of it and bringing the hodgepodge of divisions together into a single, functioning unit.

The government’s guidelines for the use of consultants say that with Treasury Board approval, a government department can skip public proposals and limit competition among pre-selected consultants if, “there are an insufficient number of consultants” or “a pressing requirement does not provide sufficient time.”

Advanced Education and Skills Minister Joan Shea acknowledged her department “didn’t follow the guidelines” in those sections.

She pointed to a different section of the policy, which says, “if any proposed consulting work does not meet these requirements, it is to be referred to Treasury Board for consideration.”

Shea said that in her mind, Noseworthy was “uniquely qualified” to do the job.

“He was a former auditor general. He understood the processes of government, and we had a new department and we wanted to make sure that we understood what we were doing,” she said. “We felt that, based on his skills, he was uniquely qualified to do it, so therefore we didn’t follow the guidelines.”

When asked about the spirit of the policy, which seems to suggest that a competitive selection process should be used whenever possible, Shea said that the bottom line was the department felt Noseworthy was the very best person to do the job, and Treasury Board signed off on it.

“We felt that Mr. Noseworthy had the skills that we could benefit from in this department, and regardless of his political affiliation in the six months leading up to that, it doesn’t take away from the skills that this individual has,” she said.

Noseworthy’s report is still technically in a “draft” form, because when he gave his final presentation to government the week before Christmas, Shea was unable to see it since she was tied up in the House of Assembly with the Muskrat Falls filibuster.

Shea said she expects Noseworthy will come in to give the presentation to her at some point in the next couple of weeks.

The report will only be made public subject to the rules of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Noseworthy declined to be interviewed for this story.

Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Treasury Board, Hiring of External Consultants, Department of Advanced Education and Skills Department of Human Resources

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Recent comments

  • Judy
    February 07, 2013 - 14:19

    More lies, more abuse of taxpayers' money, more insults to the intelligence of the ordinary citizens, and the snowball of deception just continues to get bigger and bigger. I use to respect you, Mr. Noseworthy, but you eventually proved that you are like the rest of them, just interested in lining you own pockets and fat bank account.

  • Gullible Tory
    February 07, 2013 - 12:11

    I see nothing wrong with this; slurp, gulp, slurp; both that koolaid is some good.

    • david
      February 07, 2013 - 12:30

      Not to be presumptuous, but you DO realize that this witty sarcasm is really only truly funny if you., the author, are not yoursefl a "gullible grit" or any other devoutly mesmorized political airhead....right?

    • Little Man Dan
      February 07, 2013 - 12:36

      Danny made me do it!

    • Glass Houses
      February 07, 2013 - 13:13

      David, no more than you're a paid Tory way.....right?

    • So sad
      February 07, 2013 - 14:56

      It's sad to see so many people that think this is something unique to the current government. Either they were born yesterday or they truly are gullible.

  • Dimitri Montgomery
    February 07, 2013 - 12:04

    This is business as usual for Burke/Shea; Dunderdale; Williams; Harper, et all. If their star candidate can't pass the smell test with the public in an election, then, give them a compfy plum to sooth their ego. It stinks, but we accept it; and, they know it.

  • Amazed
    February 07, 2013 - 10:41

    Isn't it amazing he stopped working when he got close to the limit of 150,000?? So he got paid 148,960 for an incomplete report. Disgraceful!!! This is not the first time govt has created new departments and I don't remember this being done before. I guess his pension is not enough. It doesn't look good for the top managers in that department when they need to have somebody look at what they are doing. Time for Burke/Shea to go, sadly with a pension.

    • Beancounter
      February 07, 2013 - 12:09

      The other $1040.00 was probably claimed in expenses.

  • tom
    February 07, 2013 - 10:07

    Yeah I guess the cutbacks won't affect the Tories. This is scandalous. Yet on it goes. We are more pathetic than they are for allowing it to happen.

  • HtoO
    February 07, 2013 - 09:49

    Why can't anyone from government address this issue? Why is it so hard for them to speak? Are they just acotors who can't remember their lines. Do they need another raise before they can become accountable? And don't get paul lane on the matter either, he's only the water boy in this oversized government. Shea does stuff like this because she knows she can get away with it. Kinda like the way Loyal sullivan was lobbying for OCI when he wasn't SUPPOSE TO BE because of his relief peroid due to his last job as federal fisherys ambassitor. That new department must be getting advice from the trailer park boys.

  • Whaddaya At
    February 07, 2013 - 09:43

    Nah, it's all a coincidence. It's not a case where politicians are rewarding one of their hacks with a $150,000 plum; It just looks that way. It's also a coincidence that competitions weren't held for the job. Simply an oversight, or whatever. And Joan Shea doesn't think we're all as stupid as Forrest Gump; it just looks that way. As for politicians like Shea and her ilk, this is exactly why politicians are among the least respected and least trusted people in society. And that, my friends, is no coincidence.

    • Scott Free
      February 07, 2013 - 10:00

      and, Ross Reid was the best and only person capable of his appointment; and Ed Williams was the best and only person capable of his appointment....and so on. Had absolutely nothing whatsoever with who they are and what politcal stripe they are; purely coincidental.

  • Another Give away
    February 07, 2013 - 09:38

    Watching the way the dunderdale government is operating our province is disgraceful. Who is the dunderdale working for? or Who have hired them? This ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH PREMIER! This is a province or a a big bussiness that gets away everything to every big multi-national that asks. This report was not needed but it seems a patronage perk worth almost $150,000. And after the Muskratfalls was imposed on us! Dunderdales lack of leadership is pathetic. Its starting to remind me of a few questionable inter-national scoccer games I've seen pover the last few years.

  • Doug
    February 07, 2013 - 09:35

    The one qualification Noseworthy had that made him 'unique' was his (failed) venture into politics on behalf of the PCs. Had Noseworthy run for the Liberals or NDP, there is no way his remaining qualifications would have made him unique enough to land this windfall. I suspect the only reason the contractual position was created in the first place was to reward Noseworthy for getting steamrolled by Lorraine Michael.

  • grant
    February 07, 2013 - 09:29

    If i ever fell into St Johns harbour there is one person i wouldnt want to throw me a life line and thats Joan Burke, alias Joan Shea, you never know whats on the end of it.

    • Happily Retired
      February 07, 2013 - 10:42

      The highly paid people which you reference are not allowed to make anything happen because most of them weren't hand-picked by Joan Burke(Shea) Can't you remember how she handled the President of the University, or how she eviscerated Tom Osbourne? Those are just two examples. This woman has no respect for the public service. She is a bully, and most pubic servants breathe a sigh of relief when they find out that she's not their Minister.

  • Edmund
    February 07, 2013 - 09:25

    Why couldn't all the highly paid Deputy Ministers, Assistant Deputy Ministers, Directors and Managers make this happen? They are supposedly running the departments and should know as much or more that Noseworthy as they are closer to the action. Obviously we have wated $150K on his contract and continue to loose hundreds of thousands of $ by paying, it seems, these unqualified employees who are supposed to be responsible in running these departments. If they can't merge 2 departments they are simply useless and should all be fired and personally ashamed to accept a paycheck.

  • Eli
    February 07, 2013 - 09:02

    Newfoundland polititians have destroyed the once renowned moral fibre of Newfoundlanders. They've changed our society from a "get it done" people to "who can I screw today". A pox on the lot of 'em.

  • TM
    February 07, 2013 - 08:46

    It is what it is! A $150,000 of our supposedly limited tax dollars being used by the governing PC party to payoff their “uniquely qualified” sniper candidate who missed his high profile target in the last election. How can a government who so blatantly abuses its own rules expect to be taken as credible in negotiations with employees who would be fired on the spot for not following the same rules?

  • Newfoundlander living in Alberta
    February 07, 2013 - 08:33

    I could have come back home to my own province and done the same work as Mr. Noseworthy did for less salary. I did not see the competition advertised ??? and to think Joan Shea has a freeze on hiring within the Advanced Education and Skills Department. Something is wrong with this picture. Well only another two more years and the youth of this province will put this government out.... they have to inorder to sustain anything of dream of returning back to their home province and finding employment. Shame on you Joan Shea....

  • Dale Olfstadt
    February 07, 2013 - 08:23

    Have all of Danny & Dunderdale's friends & realtives been rewarded yet with their blatant patronages? Please issue a detailed list of who's left to receive which plum?

  • Harvey
    February 07, 2013 - 08:22

    Should the gov't''s irresponsible person be Joan Burke and not Joan Shea ? This elected bunch must be put on medication before it's too late.

  • John
    February 07, 2013 - 08:11

    As a trained individual in this area Masters, and currently completing PhD I find this answer from Shea to be outlandish and serving her own needs. Theie are many" uniquely" qualified individuals who could have undettaken the work of Mr. Noseworthy but I guess they wanted someone with the same politcal stripes. I have two question for the Minister and I use that term loosely as she has shown time and time again that she ignores rules and policy to suit her own agenda. Question 1 - Did Mr. Noseworthy double dip and if so how would he explain it as in the past as the AG he brought this up on occassion as being improper Question 2 - How do you know there were not other more qualified individuals

  • roy
    February 07, 2013 - 07:53

    And this surprises anyone and will you be again surprised when the findings are not released without sections blacked out and what would have been Noseworthys report have been if he was auditor. Just wondering long time PC whose sick of whats going on

  • Dave
    February 07, 2013 - 07:35

    Who is Joan Shea?

    • Kev
      February 07, 2013 - 08:58

      The Hack Politican Formerly Known As Joan Burke.

    • New coat of paint, same beater
      February 07, 2013 - 11:01

      Joan Burke - re-branded

  • Dave from Mt Pearl
    February 07, 2013 - 07:17

    My biggest question in all this is who is "We" that she keeps referring to. Some of our members are so Stephen like it is uncanny. Don't believe it , too bad. Got a different opinion or way of doing it, you're stupid. All philosophies of the government both federal and provincial

  • dan
    February 07, 2013 - 07:00

    Me thinks there is something rotten in this! I guess the review was not favorable to Shea and her CON buddies! ABC in NL people, only 2 more years and we can rid this province of these idiots