Former Hydro senior VP, First Nation chief among new appointees to Hydro board

Manitoba Hydro's board now has the almost same number of members it had before a mass resignation earlier this year.

Hydro board chair sent letter saying board lacked expertise in finance, engineering and human resources

The Manitoba government appointed four new members to the Manitoba Hydro board. (CBC)

Manitoba Hydro's board now has the almost same number of members it had before a mass resignation earlier this year.

The Manitoba government appointed four new members to the Manitoba Hydro board, more than two months after the chair sent a letter saying the board lacked people with key skills.

On April 17, Hydro board chair Marina James wrote to Crown Services Minister Cliff Cullen saying the board needed people with expertise in finance, engineering and human resources.

The new board appointees include former Hydro senior vice-president of finance and administration Vince Warden, IBM Canada vice-president Beth Bell, chartered accountant Harold Reid, and former Norway House Cree Nation Chief Ron Evans.

The appointments were made by an order in council on June 27.

The letter from James was sent just weeks after the province appointed five new members following the mass resignation of all but one of the previous board members near the end of March.

When nine out of 10 members of the board — with the exception of Progressive Conservative MLA Cliff Graydon — resigned, they said the problem was the board couldn't get a meeting with the premier to discuss issues of finance, governance, and efforts to establish relationships with Indigenous peoples.

Premier Brian Pallister said that accusation was not fair, and said the resignations were actually because the province wouldn't agree to a $67-million payment Hydro wanted to make to the Manitoba Metis Federation, spread over 50 years.

The board now has nine members, one fewer than the 10 members it had before the resignations. Bell, Reid and Warden's term will expire June 27, 2020. Evans's term expires June 27, 2021.

The order also re-appointed James to her position as chair, as well as vice-chair Michael Moore, for terms expiring June 27, 2019.