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Premier Dwight Ball met with the media at the Confederation Building Friday afternoon to discuss the controversies regarding Carla Foote and Gordon McIntosh. The premier also gave an update on his government’s rate-mitigation plan — see story on A4. Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
Premier Dwight Ball says it was public pressure that triggered Carla Foote to resign her position at The Rooms and move back to a position within the provincial government.
“For me, the decisions we make reflect the view of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. There was significant feedback,” Ball said Friday.
Ball says after the Christmas break there were meetings with the cabinet secretariat about potential places for Foote within the department, when the assistant deputy minister position was identified. From there, Ball says the cabinet secretariat and Foote had discussions about moving her back into the position. Foote will begin in that position on Feb. 20.
Ball says he didn’t personally identify the position for Foote, but something had to happen so people could move on.
“No one likes to see people go through those things. No one likes to see The Rooms in this situation. So, we had to find a solution. This is the solution. She’s back working in government,” said Ball.
“Can anyone say Carla Foote deserved to be without a job today for what happened here? Of course not. She deserves to have a job and rightfully so.”
In a statement, chair of the board of directors of The Rooms Margaret Allan says once the Independent Appointments Commission chooses a new permanent CEO for the gallery, a review will take place of the marketing department.
“Once that is filled, the board of directors will conduct an organizational review to ensure The Rooms is well positioned for the future. The marketing function will be reviewed at that time,” Allan stated.
“In the interim, we will evaluate temporary options to meet the immediate needs of the organization.”
Allan also confirmed there is no severance payment associated with Foote’s resignation.
Meanwhile, Ball did not defend the $336,000 contract awarded by Nalcor Energy to Gordon McIntosh and his firm Aberdeen International Associates.
McIntosh was granted a conflict-of-interest waiver by cabinet in order to go from deputy minister of natural resources into the contract. Typically, deputy ministers and other high-ranking government officials must wait for a one-year cooling off period before accepting contracts with other government departments.
The contract includes a $3,000 monthly housing stipend for McIntosh, who resides in Scotland with his family.
Late Friday the Premier’s Office denied a request made by The Telegram to see documents relating to the conflict-of-interest waiver, saying they are cabinet records and would not be released.
Ball says the initial contract was for one year and will be reviewed.
“The contract with Mr. McIntosh was discussed and negotiated with Jim Keating. I’m not saying it’s OK. I have questions about these contracts as well. This contract, right now, effective February the 1st is now open to review,” said Ball.
“We will review all of these contracts that reflect where the future of the OilCo will be.”