Judy Foote, Opposition Critic for Innovation Trade and
Rural Development and MHA for the District of Grand Bank, wants the Minister
to explain if the province is recruiting a new Senior Deputy Minister from
Scotland at a cost of approximately one million dollars in salary and
benefits for a five year contract.
is who is this million dollar man and what special qualifications does he
have that warrants such a lucrative contract," said Foote. "At a time when
government is making cuts in other areas, including laying off long-time
valuable employees, and delaying necessary investments, hiring such a person
raises many questions about the judgement government is exercising.
"This government has failed to get its act together in
terms of rural development and economic policy in general so I can
understand why they are desperate to find someone who has experience in that
area but surely there must be someone in our province with such
qualifications. There is nothing wrong with hiring from outside the province
if the position has been advertised in our province and no one qualified
applied, that, however, doesn’t appear to be the case. Of course, what we
have here is a government that came to power with a promise of a plan to
revitalize rural Newfoundland and Labrador and, after 15 months in office,
there is no evidence that such a plan exists.
"This government should think long and hard before
they sign a million dollar contract with one person. I know that amount of
money would go a long way in addressing some of the immediate problems which
face many of our rural communities. Undoubtedly, there is a person in our
province with the expertise and experience to help the government grow our
Newspaper reports have indicated that the government
is trying to recruit Gordon McIntosh who now works with the Aberdeen City
Council in Scotland, and who was the Director of Economic Development for
the City of Aberdeen when this province co-sponsored Softworld’98 with
Scotland. Softworld ‘98 was an information technology conference held in St.
John’s and chaired by Dean MacDonald. Mr. McIntosh’s assistant director of
economic development for the City of Aberdeen, Debbie Lee, was a member of
the Executive Board of Softworld ‘98 which Mr. McIntosh attended. According
to news reports, Mr. McIntosh’s salary and benefits package would be
approximately $200,000 a year for a contract period of five years.