July 12, 2017
For Immediate Release

How Many Government Appointments Delayed?

Keith Hutchings, Official Opposition Critic for the Human Resource Secretariat and the Public Service Commission, is asking how many government appointments to agencies, boards and commissions (ABCs) have been delayed and how these delays are impacting the work of public bodies.

Hutchings said it has been brought to his attention that a significant number of appointments are overdue, some by considerable periods of time.

In fact, according to the government’s appointments website on some public bodies, the majority of members have had their terms of appointment expire. These include such “Tier 1” bodies as the Western Regional Integrated Health Authority, the Central Regional Integrated Health Authority Board of Trustees and the Eastern Regional Integrated Health Authority Board of Trustees. “Tier 2” bodies include the Fish Processing Licensing Board, the Child Death Review Committee, and the Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Advisory Council. Granted, the conditions of some appointments indicate that a trustee whose term of office has expired may continue to be a trustee until reappointed or replaced. Some positions are not just expired but vacant, such as on the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board. “But the current administration has had 20 months to get its appointments process in order,” said Hutchings.

Hutchings pointed to a “Way Forward” commitment stating “A target is set to reduce the number of ABCs in the province by 20 per cent by 2020,” and a March 2017 update stating “In 2017-18 Government will make progress towards this target.” <http://thewayforward.gov.nl.ca/report-card#action-1-3>

“Are some of these ABCs being eliminated, and is that the reason for the delays? And if so, are any of these bodies being hindered from fulfilling their statutory obligations in the meantime? Are any public services being compromised? This should be happening in the full light of public disclosure, but to date, the Liberal government has left people in the dark about its plans.”

Hutchings said, “The Ball government’s record on independent appointments has not reflected it’s description during the Bill 1 debate in HOA. The legislation allows an appointments commission to appoint but does not have the authority to report when the Cabinet completely ignores its recommendations, still allows ministerial appointments and based some of the Liberal appointments over past 20 months has done nothing to keep politics out of appointments. We’ve seen a flurry of government hiring of Liberal friends, Party workers and former candidates, making a joke out of the Premier’s pledge to take politics out of appointments. The process clearly does not seem to be working, and people are right to wonder if their best interests are really being served.”

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Media Contact: Heather MacLean, Director of Operations and Communications
Office of the Official Opposition
(709) 729 6105, heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca