Nfld. & Labrador

Dwight Ball confirms Greg Mercer hired in 'senior role'

Premier Dwight Ball confirmed Wednesday that he has put longtime Liberal organizer Greg Mercer in a key role in his office, and that he is keeping Kelvin Parsons in place as his chief of staff.

Existing chief of staff refused to step aside, sources tell CBC

Premier Dwight Ball speaks to media Wednesday afternoon.

Premier Dwight Ball confirmed Wednesday that he has put longtime Liberal organizer Greg Mercer in a key role in his office, and that he is keeping Kelvin Parsons in place as his chief of staff. 

The premier's office said Mercer's new job title is senior strategist (stakeholder relations). In that position, he will make $147,680 a year.

Multiple sources tell CBC News Mercer was initially offered, and accepted, the chief of staff job. He was given a mandate to reform the government's political operations and the top ranks of the civil service, sources say.

But, sources say, the premier's office didn't develop a clear exit strategy for the existing chief of staff Kelvin Parsons. Parsons didn't want to leave and Ball wasn't willing to fire him. 

The compromise is that Mercer will be senior strategist on paper, but will effectively be running the political operations of the government. Liberal insiders now expect Parsons to leave the premier's office sometime in the fall. 

CBC reported on May 31 that Premier Ball was planning changes to his staff and poised to hire Mercer as someone who could "play the heavy" and shake things up at the top levels of government.

Speaking with reporters Wednesday afternoon, Ball said that Mercer's role is more senior than deputy chief of staff.

"He's coming in in a more senior role there," Ball said. "Using his experience and advice that he can bring to us as we work our way through this."

Mercer most recently served as a consultant in the natural resources sector. 

"He's doing a good job," said Ball. "He's adding some political experience and experience of working in the premier's office in the past."

His father, Bob Mercer, is a former Liberal MHA from the province's west coast. 

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