Nfld. & Labrador

PCs cry 'cronyism' after Liberals replace Bill Radford as head of CNA

Bill Radford was the president for less than a year. Premier Dwight Ball declines comment, calls it a "human resources issue."

Radford replaced less than a year after he was promoted to president

Bill Radford was replaced as the president of the College of the North Atlantic in July, less than a year after being appointed. No details were given for the change. (Submitted)

Less than a year after bringing in a new president at the College of the North Atlantic, the Liberal government has replaced him, saying little about why.

Bill Radford is being bumped from a job he was hired to less than a year ago, in a move Premier Dwight Ball said Monday was a "human resources issue."

Radford took the top job at the college on Sept. 6, 2017, after a scathing review of some of CNA's programs and administrative procedures. 

He was promoted from his previous role as vice-president academic, replacing two interim presidents brought in after Ann Marie Vaughan — whose contract ended July 31, 2016 — was not renewed by the provincial government.

It's not clear why Radford was replaced so quickly. Ball said he cannot comment on the decision because it is a human resources matter.

Premier Dwight Ball says replacing Bill Radford as the president of the College of the North Atlantic is a "human resources issue" and so he would not comment further. (CBC)

"What I do know is that the College of the North Atlantic will continue to play a significant piece as part of the post-secondary education system in our province," Ball said.

​On July 26, government announced that Bruce Hollett would be taking over as the interim president for CNA.

This will be the third time Hollett has done that job. Prior to this latest appointment, he was a member and the chairperson of the province's Public Service Commission.

Bruce Hollett, right, pictured here in 2010 when he was the president of the College of the North Atlantic previously. (CNA)

Hollett was previously a deputy minister for a number of government departments — Education, and Youth Services and Post-secondary Education, as well as Environment and Conservation, and Industry, Trade and Technology.

Replacing Hollett on an interim basis is George Joyce, who in 2016 was appointed as an assistant deputy minister in the Human Resources Secretariat.

George Joyce, seen here in a file photo, ran for the Liberals in 2011.

Joyce is a former Liberal candidate who ran provincially in 2011 and is related to Eddie Joyce, who sits as an independent MHA. Earlier this year, Eddie Joyce was removed from the Liberal caucus following complaints of harassment and bullying.

'Fox in charge of the chicken coop'

"Liberal cronyism continues to thrive under the Ball Liberals, with an appointment of a failed Liberal candidate to the core body that is supposed to ensure merit-based, non-political public service," Progressive Conservative leader Ches Crosbie said in a statement Monday.

"This is undeniably worse than even the previous crony appointments — this is the equivalent of putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop."

The Prince Philip Drive campus of the College of the North Atlantic in St. John's. (CBC)

Crosbie said it appears Radford was let go "for cause," but there is no word on what the cause would be.

"If it was for cause, then the public has the right to know. And then that takes care of the question of, what is ordained and arranged in order to put one of their people in another position," Crosbie said, referring to Joyce moving in behind new interim president Hollett.

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