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Many new faces at Confederation Building these days
Nicole Kieley, executive director of the NL Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre, has a new job as Premier Dwight Ball’s special adviser on social policy.
The premier’s office confirmed Kieley’s hiring on Monday.
Kieley has served as the executive director of the centre since June 2013. According to her LinkedIn, she is also the co-owner of and developer with Escape Quest, a puzzle room in downtown St. John’s.
Her first taste of politics was as a candidate for the New Democratic Party in the November 2017 byelection that saw Progressive Conservative Jim Lester first elected to the House of Assembly. Kieley challenged Lester again in the May 2019 provincial election, this time for the Liberals.
Kieley takes over the position in the premier’s office from lawyer John Samms, who held the post since the Liberals first took office in 2015. Samms left the premier’s office in May, shortly after the provincial election, to practice with Stewart McKelvey in St. John’s.
Comings and goings
The premier’s office has seen a few key figures leave their eighth-floor offices in the Confederation Building.
Also in May, Jason Card departed the position of director of communications in June after almost three years working in the premier’s office. Card was director of communications for nine months, and previously served as a communications adviser for two years.
Card is now director of communications for Mowi Canada East. That company owns Northern Harvest Sea Farm Ltd, which recently saw a massive die-off of salmon in its aquaculture project in Fortune Bay on the province’s south coast.
Journalist Erin Sulley became the premier’s director of communications upon Card’s departure, having previously served alongside Card as a media relations manager.
Former Royal Newfoundland Constabulary media officer Geoff Higdon is now director of public relations in the premier’s office. Higdon left his role with the police at the end of 2018 and joined the premier’s office in a communications capacity in June.
Senior adviser Joy Buckle also recently departed the premier’s office, having served with the Liberals from their time in opposition when she was hired in 2008. In September she became the vice-president of policy and planning with Sequence Bio, a biotechnology company based in this province.
Prior to this year’s shuffling, Ball has seen a number of staffers come and go for personal and professional reasons.
In November 2018, Ball said so long to his third director of communications, Michelle Cannizzaro, who left the office for personal reasons. Cannizzarro joined the premier’s office as media relations manager in August 2016, alongside Andrew Caddell, who was announced communications director at the same time. Caddell remained in the position only until November of the same year before returning to Ottawa to work with the federal department of Global Affairs. Upon Caddell’s departure, Cannizzaro became director of communications.
Also in August 2016, Ball announced his second and current chief of staff. Greg Mercer took over from former cabinet minister Kelvin Parsons, who resigned amid the controversy surrounding the retirement of former Nalcor president and CEO Ed Martin in 2016.
The premier’s first communications director, Nancy O’Connor, now Andrews, also left the premier’s office in the months following the Martin controversy.
This is a corrected version.