Contract details spark calls for deputy's head
The release from P.E.I.'s auditor general of more information on contractual arrangements made by the Department of Tourism has drawn further calls for the resignation of a deputy minister.
Auditor General Colin Younker reported in April there had been millions of dollars of uncontracted work done for the department, and released further details of those arrangements Monday.
Opposition leader Olive Crane was particularly incensed that some of those contractual arrangements — as Younker called them, because there were no actual contracts — were with UPEI's Tourism Research Centre, which then deputy minister Melissa MacEachern had a close connection to.
"The bottom line is people have to have trust in their government. This deputy minister has to go," said Crane.
MacEachern has since moved on to be deputy minister at the Department of Innovation. She came to government from UPEI, where she had served as faculty director of the Tourism Research Centre.
"The province has to have checks and balances in place, so people can believe in their government and have trust," said Crane.
"Here we have a deputy who is on secondment doing business directly with the former employer. Where is the premier on this? This deputy minister should have been fired."
Neither MacEachern or anyone else from government was available to discuss the auditor general's release in detail, but in an email to CBC News a spokesperson for the Tourism Department said MacEachern had not been an employee of the Tourism Research Centre but rather of UPEI, and she was not in a conflict of interest.
Undocumented arrangements with the Tourism Research Centre included payment of fees worth more than $170,000.
The centre was not the only recipient of cheques from the government that were delivered without following government contracting guidelines.
Grey Advertising received payment of more than $6 million from the province based on a verbal extension of an expired contract.
An IT company called Internetworks was paid more than $2 million, sometimes without a contract and other times with contracts that the auditor general said lacked key information.