Nfld. & Labrador

Nalcor chair told Ball of severance on April 20, email reveals

New documents released Wednesday afternoon by government provide more information about how the Liberal government and the Nalcor board of directors handled the departure of CEO Ed Martin.

Emails make clear board believed in agreement between Martin and Ball

Premier Dwight Ball has faced days of questioning over what he knew about a multi-million dollar exit package provided to former Nalcor CEO Ed Martin. (CBC)

The former chair of Nalcor personally told Premier Dwight Ball of Ed Martin's termination and severance deal on April 20, an email conversation between the two reveals.

The new documents released Wednesday afternoon by the premier's office provide more information about how the Liberal government and Nalcor's board of directors handled the departure of the former CEO.

The emails, dated April 20, make clear that the Nalcor board believed the provincial government and Martin had an agreement that he was to be fired "without cause," and would be paid his contractual severance.

"As per your meeting with the CEO on April 19, the board is terminating the employment of the CEO without cause...(with) corresponding severance implications," Nalcor chair Ken Marshall wrote in an email to the premier.

"Your notes from this morning's press release indicate resignation, however the Board understands that this was agreed that this was and is a termination without cause."

Agreement at issue

Premier Ball has maintained that government did not authorize Ed Martin's severance package before it was approved by the Nalcor board.

Natural resources minister Siobhan Coady repeated that claim on Wednesday, speaking to reporters in the House of Assembly about the email exchange.

"The central question here is did government direct the board to pay severance?" Coady said.

"I can tell you that we didn't see the severance agreement, we did not review the severance agreement, we did not sign off on the severance agreement." 

In a separate statement to media Wednesday morning, Marshall said he personally discussed the severance payment with Ball on April 20 during a phone call held prior to the Board of Directors vote.

Martin severance

6 years ago
Duration 2:34
Natural resources minister Siobhan Coady spoke to reporters outside the House of Assembly Wednesday.

Bonus payouts​ 

​Wednesday's statements by the government also revealed that Nalcor approved 2015 bonus payments to senior executives, despite requests from Premier Ball to show fiscal restraint.

In March, the premier had asked the board to look at whether executive bonuses should be paid, considering the province's dire financial situation.

Marshall wrote back that the board would make "what we feel is the just and proper decision."

The board ended up paying out about $400,000 in all to a number of senior executives.

"Should government, in its capacity as shareholder, disagree with the board, government will presumably take the requisite steps to amend," Marshall wrote back.

Coady used that decision on Wednesday as evidence that Nalcor's board acted on their own.

"It would be very, very difficult for the province to direct the board of Nalcor," she said.

Resignation outlined

Marshall's April 20 email also outlined reasons for the board's mass-resignation from Nalcor.

He wrote that as government had spoke directly to Ed Martin regarding his employment, and had criticized Nalcor heavily in the budget speech, it was clear they could not carry on.

"Government (did) not have proper confidence in the board to continue its duties," he wrote.

"I can speak for all individuals on the board that to a member, (we) have acted with proper and due care for the long-term benefit of the organization."

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