New Brunswick

David Alward's Tory deputy ministers face unclear future

Premier-designate Brian Gallant says outgoing premier David Alward agreed to lay off Robert MacLeod and Margarget-Ann Blaney from their jobs as presidents of Crown corporations.

Invest NB's Robert MacLeod, Efficiency NB's Margaret-Ann Blaney will be laid off, Brian Gallant says

Daniel Allain, right, served as president of NB Liquor before becoming a deputy minister inside the Office of the Premier. (CBC)
Premier-designate Brian Gallant says outgoing premier David Alward agreed last week to lay off Robert MacLeod and Margaret-Ann Blaney from their jobs as presidents of Crown corporations.

Gallant told reporters on Friday that he has been assured by Alward that MacLeod will be laid off as president and chief executive officer of Invest NB and Blaney would be laid off as president and chief executive officer of Efficiency New Brunswick.

"We were told that they would be let go, so it is our understanding that at the last cabinet meeting they would have taken care of that," Gallant told reporters on Friday.

Gallant will be sworn in as premier on Oct. 7.

It's normal for top officials who are clearly affiliated with the former government to receive buyouts when there's a change in the party in power.

Gallant said last week that Alward had committed to laying off some politically affiliated deputy ministers. But the status of MacLeod and Blaney was not clear last week.

The premier-designate also said that his deputy minister-level appointments would be merit- and competence-based, not politically based. 

Nancy MacKay was Alward's chief of staff before becoming a deputy minister inside the Executive Council Office. (CBC)
​Alward had six deputy minister-level appointees who are all long-time Tories.

But the outgoing premier’s office won't say if all six will leave or what kind of severance they will receive.

According to government records, all of these deputy ministers were paid between $125,000 and $175,000.

The six deputy ministers include:

  • Daniel Allain is a deputy minister in the premier's office and former president of NB Liquor. His salary was between $150,000 and $175,000.
  • Nancy MacKay is the former chief of staff to premier and now a deputy minister in the Executive Council office. Her salary was between $150,000 and $175,000.
  • Dallas McCready is the deputy minister for strategic initiatives in the Executive Council Office. His salary was between $125,000 and $150,000.​
  • Darell Fowlie was a deputy minister in the premier’s office. He was on a leave of absence. His salary was between $125,000 and $150,000.
  • Greg Lutes is the deputy minister of Tourism, Heritage and Culture. His salary was between $125,000 and $150,000.
  • Roger Clinch is the premier’s chief of staff. (Clinch was hired in September 2013, so his salary was not included in the last public accounts document. Chiefs of staff are typically paid at the same level as deputy ministers, however.)

When Alward took over in 2010, five Liberal-appointed deputy ministers lost their jobs. Some of the severance packages were spread over a number of years.

Two of those ex-deputy ministers were paid $150,000 in 2011-12, a fiscal year when they were not working for taxpayers, while another collected between $75,000 and $99,000, according to government records.

Blaney, MacLeod severance packages unclear

Former Tory cabinet minister Margaret-Ann Blaney was appointed to the position of chief executive officer of Efficiency New Brunswick in 2012. (CBC)
Blaney and MacLeod may have a right to a more generous buyout of their entire contract because they were appointed to five-year terms in their positions at the Crown corporations.​

MacLeod ran against Alward for the Progressive Conservative leadership in 2008. Alward appointed MacLeod to a senior campaign position in 2010 and then named him as the first president of Invest NB in 2011.

Blaney ran for the Progressive Conservative leadership against Bernard Lord in 1998. She served in several cabinet positions in the Lord and Alward governments.

She resigned from cabinet in 2012 to become the president of Efficiency New Brunswick, a position the Tories had previously cut.

Robert MacLeod, left, ran against Alward for the Tory leadership in 2008. MacLeod was named the president and chief executive officer of Invest NB in 2011. (CBC)
Both appointments created allegations of patronage. However, the issue of patronage clouded the Rothesay byelection and had some cabinet ministers and the Rothesay candidate distancing themselves from the appointment.

The MacLeod and Blaney appointments, however, did spur changes to add more transparency to how Crown corporation presidents are selected.

MacLeod turned down an interview request about his potential severance package.

Blaney didn't respond to CBC's calls to discuss her future.

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