Carla Foote has resigned her position with The Rooms and is returning to the Confederation Building.
Foote will serve as assistant deputy minister of the public engagement and planning division of the cabinet secretariat.
“Her appointment as ADM of public engagement will commence on February 20, 2020. The annual salary for Ms. Foote’s role as ADM of public engagement is $123,065,” according to a statement from the Premier’s Office.
The position has been vacant since Dec. 18.
“She and the government appear to have more than an engagement, it appears to be a marriage,” Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie quipped.
“She and the government appear to have more than an engagement, it appears to be a marriage." — Ches Crosbie
Assistant deputy ministers are not covered under the Independent Appointment Commission, and are appointments made by cabinet and the premier as part of regular duties.
Crosbie says a merit-based approach should be expanded to include assistant deputy ministers and other political appointments within the provincial government.
“In terms of appointments, my principle is the merit principle. You should have competitions. In respect to those appointments where it’s justified not to have competitions — and that’s justified at certain policy-making and execution levels like deputy ministers — those should be meritorious appointments as well,” he said.
“A premier and a government is entitled to have its policy thinking reflected in the top-most levels of the public service.”
Foote, the daughter of Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote, was appointed to The Rooms on Oct. 1, 2018 in the position of executive director of marketing and development. The appointment took place without competition. Another person had previously been hired in the position, but that hiring was rescinded to allow Foote to take over the position. Foote was paid $132,000 annually in the job, which was previously designated for a salary of between $76,666 and $107,612.
A resulting report filed by the Office of the Citizens' Representative and the commissioner for legislative standards into the appointment called for Minister Chris Mitchelmore to be reprimanded for his handling of the appointment. The citizens' representative found Mitchelmore “grossly mismanaged his obligations with respect to the code of conduct given his involvement in the appointment.”
After an exhaustive debate in the House of Assembly, Mitchelmore stood and apologized. Mitchelmore remains a member of the cabinet of Premier Dwight Ball.