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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

September 21, 2016

 

For Immediate Release

 

 

 

Premier's Appointment of Prominent Liberal ‎to Province's Highest Non-political Civil Service Post is Inappropriate and Scandalous

 

Paul Davis, Leader of the Official Opposition, said, "The appointment of a prominent Liberal and former Liberal leadership candidate to the highest non-political position in the province's civil service not only makes an absolute mockery of Premier Dwight Ball's election pledge to take politics out of appointments, but compromises the integrity of the office of the Clerk of the Executive Council, the chief non-political office of the provincial government."

 

Bern Coffey not only ran as a candidate for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador, but was the Liberal Party's appointee to the recent Electoral Boundaries Commission, representing their party's political interests in the process.

 

"The Clerk of the Executive Council is the head of the provincial public service, the most senior non-political office of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, whose role includes giving unbiased, non-partisan professional counsel on all issues of policy and operations for the provincial government. It is absolutely inappropriate to politicize this role by appointing a prominent Liberal to the post. It compromises the integrity and neutrality of the office and the integrity of the counsel and analysis it provides. Historically, the position has been filled with an individual with extensive government and public administration experience, none of which are featured in Mr. Coffey’s resume,“ said Davis.

 

Davis said, "This appointment comes on the heels of the Premier's decision to fire highly regarded officials from several non-partisan roles in the public service and replace them with Liberal friends and relatives‎ - a move that has cost taxpayers approximately $2 million in needless severance while politicizing these senior positions in the civil service.

 

Davis said, "Taking politics out of public service appointments was among the first commitments of the 2015 Liberal red book that defined Premier Ball's mandate and constituted his promise to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. ‎The Premier has made a complete mockery of his commitment to take politics out of appointments, first by establishing a powerless independent appointments commission, then by replacing non-partisan senior bureaucrats with Liberal friends and relatives at great cost to taxpayers, and now by compromising the integrity of the top non-partisan office of the civil service by appointing a prominent Liberal to run it. Premier Ball has taken political partisanship to a new level.

 

"This appointment sends a chill throughout the public service to any who would think of delivering facts or advice that the Liberals at the top might not want to hear."

 

Davis said, "The Liberals have driven the province's economy into the ground by failing to deliver sound fiscal policies, tax relief or an effective economic plan, and their desperate solution is not to deliver that plan but to send a chill throughout the civil service that public employees ought to ensure ‎they toe the Liberal Party line or they may be out of a job. We're witnessing the return of a style of governance that is not about earning the people's trust by delivering the good government they need, but about clinging to power through Party control."

 

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Media Contact: Heather MacLean, Director of Communications, Office of the Official Opposition,

 

(709) 729 6105, heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca

 

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