Manitoba

Premier Brian Pallister says he had no involvement in decision about Red River College president

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says his government played no role in the controversial ousting of Red River College's president.

Board of Manitoba college is made up of Progressive Conservative appointees

Premier Brian Pallister has been accused of interfering with decisions at Manitoba Hydro and Manitoba Public Insurance. (CBC)

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says his government played no role in the controversial ousting of Red River College's president.

"Having been the recipient of some pretty harsh criticism for allegedly injecting myself in board decisions, I'm not likely going to inject myself into board decisions at this point," Pallister said Thursday, referring to accusations he has interfered with decisions at Manitoba Hydro and Manitoba Public Insurance.

"So you're saying the government played no role at all in this decision?" a reporter asked Pallister.

"Absolutely," he said.

Last week, Red River president Paul Vogt said he was shocked and disappointed by the Winnipeg-based college's decision not to renew his contract when his term ends next year.

Vogt was hired in 2015 after a spending scandal involving the previous president. He had previously worked as clerk of the executive council and policy secretary for the former NDP government.

The current board of Red River College is made up of Progressive Conservative appointees.

Red River College president Paul Vogt has been told his contract will not be renewed when his term ends next year. (Trevor Brine/CBC)

Pallister said it's up to the board to decide HR matters, not his government.

"Human resource management is the hardest part of running any organization and so I'll remain respectful of the board's decision," he said.

In an email sent to staff on July 26, Vogt said he was informed of the decision by the college's board the week prior.

"I had expressed my eagerness to continue as president, so I can't hide my disappointment over the decision. Or my surprise — it doesn't align with the feedback I have received in my time here," he said in the email.

When contacted earlier this week by CBC News, RRC board chair Loren Cisyk wouldn't elaborate on why Vogt was informed he would not be returning.

"There's not really a whole bunch to tell," Cisyk said. "The board has decided that we would like to go in a different direction.

"You'll see what kind of person we hire. That will show the direction we're headed in."