UPDATE: Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy announces resignation

Ashley Fitzpatrick afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com
Published on October 2, 2013

First elected in 2007 as a member of the House of Assembly, Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy is stepping down as minister and MHA, and has announced he will not run for re-election.

Kennedy said his exit is not due to polling or any specific disagreement with the premier.

"I'm 53 years old right now and I've been away from the practice for a few years," Kennedy said, noting he would have to rebuild his clientele.

He would not say what law firm he might be joining, but said his start date is set for Nov. 1.

"For me, it's time to go."

Kennedy's exit comes as negotiations conclude with the province's major public sector unions.

Joining the government of Danny Williams, Kennedy has since held major portfolios for the Progressive Conservatives, including Justice, Health and Natural Resources.

This article has been updated

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(Earlier story)

Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy and Premier Kathy Dunderdale will be speaking to reporters this morning at 11 a.m.

It's believed that Kennedy will announce his decision to leave provincial politics.

Rumours were swirling Monday that Kennedy was about to announce his departure from politics. However, the premier's office would not comment on the speculation.

According to a government news release, Kennedy and the premier will also discuss this morning a tentative agreement reached with the Association of AlliedHealth Professionals (AAHP), which represents approximately 600 public employees.

The tentative four-year agreement includes the same framework as the previously reached deal with the Newfoundland Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE), and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) including a five per cent salary increase over the term of the agreement.

It consists of no salary increase in the first two years, two per cent in the third year, and three per cent in the fourth year of the contract. In addition, all employees will receive a signing bonus of $1,400 on a pro-rated basis, in the second year of the agreement.

“We have been successful in negotiating this third tentative agreement in recent weeks, and I would like to thank all those involved in the negotiation process for their hard work and patience,” Dunderdale said in the news release, “The same framework is in place as with the agreements reached recently, providing an overall five per cent salary increase, and benefits in recognition of our public employees.”

The agreement will be voted on by AAHP members in the coming weeks.

“We are pleased to reach this agreement to the satisfaction of both parties,” Kennedy said in the release. “This deal, on the heels of agreements with other public sector unions, is a great step forward for our public employees.”

The Telegram will provide an update on the media briefing as soon as more information is available this morning.

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(Earlier story)

Premier Kathy Dunderdale's office said Monday it will not comment on speculation that Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy is planning to leave politics.

There was also no reply from Kennedy's office to emails and voicemail messages left by The Telegram.

Some media reports Monday speculated the Carbonear-Harbour Grace MHA Jerome Kennedy is about to exit provincial politics within a week or two.

Kennedy is currently the Finance minister, but has held other cabinet posts, including Health, Justice and Natural Resources.

Kennedy has not yet addressed the speculation.

However, The Compass newspaper spoke with a fellow

member of the Tory caucus in recent days, and when asked if Kennedy might soon be leaving politics, he replied: "I wouldn't be surprised."

Kennedy is a lawyer, and hails from Carbonear. He was first elected in 2007.

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Premier Kathy Dunderdale and Jerome Kennedy speak to reporters at Confederation Building when Kennedy announced his resignation from politics in October.. — File photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram