Nfld. & Labrador·Timeline

All you need to know about the Mitchelmore-Foote fiasco, from beginning to end

It's been a heck of a week. If you found it hard to keep up, we don't blame you. This timeline of events might help

It's been a heck of a week. If you found it hard to keep up, we don't blame you

The hiring of Carla Foote for a top job at The Rooms is the focus of The Mitchelmore Report. (Left: Lt.-Gov. Judy M. Foote/Facebook; Right: CBC)

It's been a whirlwind of a week since the tornado that was The Mitchelmore Report ripped through the House of Assembly.

By now, you probably know that a person was improperly hired for a high-paying job, a cabinet minister was suspended and the premier is remaining stonefaced in front of fierce questioning.

The news moved quickly last week, and even from the inside, it was hard to keep up. 

So let's break it down by the dates.

Fall of 2017

The marketing director of The Rooms, who was credited with being the architect behind the successful Beaumont Hamel 100th anniversary events, resigns from the position.

The Rooms CEO Dean Brinton begins a job hunt and gets 77 applications for the position. It held a salary range from $76,000 to $99,000.

Brinton, worried about budget cuts in recent years, decides not to hire anyone for the position, out of fear they would only be laid off when the next budget came down.

March 1, 2018

Brinton is at a conference in Ottawa, and gets a message saying Mitchelmore wants to speak with him.

He leaves the meetings and has a 15-minute conversation with the minister responsible for his job. They begin speaking about some negative publicity for The Rooms, then Mitchelmore suggests he might need some public relations help and says he knows someone who might be able to help.

Brinton later told the investigators on The Mitchelmore Report that he felt it was "a bit murky" for the minister to be recommending someone for the job.

The Rooms CEO Dean Brinton began a job hunt and had 77 applications for the position in the fall of 2017. (CBC)

Carla Foote's name does not come up in this conversation.

On March 27, Brinton sends an email to Mitchelmore's deputy minister, Ted Lomond, and asks if Mitchelmore is still intent on hiring someone for the vacant marketing position.

On May 3, he emails him again.

According to Brinton, Lomond did not respond to either email. 

June 2018

After getting no response on whether or not Mitchelmore is hiring anyone, Brinton decides to do it himself.

He narrows the 77 applications down to three and interviews a person referred to as "A.B." for three hours and offers an eight-month contract worth $85,000.

Brinton doesn't send a request for staffing document to the minister, saying he wasn't sure if he had to do that for a short-term contract.

On June 15, Brinton tells deputy minister Ted Lomond he has hired A.B., but hasn't sent a request for staffing document to Mitchelmore.

Lomond then sends Brinton a letter with Brinton's name at the bottom. It's a termination letter to be signed and sent to A.B. Brinton said Mitchelmore ordered him to sign it and send it.

Brinton's assistant says later on June 15, Lomond ordered her to delete the letter from her email inbox.

Brinton asked several more times over the summer if they were going to hire a new marketing director, but didn't get a response until Sept. 21, when Lomond told him Foote had been hired.

Oct. 25, 2018

CBC News reports its first story on the Foote hiring.

In it, Mitchelmore defends the hiring, saying she is highly qualified and was filling an "urgent need."

The topic dominated the fall sitting of the House of Assembly, raising allegations of patronage from the PCs and NDP.

Ball and Mitchelmore defend the decision and call it a lateral move, stating she'll be making the same salary at The Rooms as she would in her communications role within government.

Dec. 13, 2018

The public allegations go quiet leading into the Christmas season, but behind closed doors, a whistleblower comes forward to the citizens' representative.

A lawyer for a public service employee went to the rep with a package containing a seven-page letter with five allegations of wrongdoing against Chris Mitchelmore.

The package also contained 12 documents that the whistleblower said would back up the claims.

In the New Year, citizens' representative Bradley Moss notifies Mitchelmore of the investigation. A week later, he tells Foote her hiring is under scrutiny.

July 2019

Dean Brinton is out as CEO of The Rooms after 15 years.

No reason is given for his termination, but he's given 11 months' salary plus legal fees, and a confidentiality agreement.

Ted Lomond is now the deputy minister of natural affairs and environment. He worked under Chris Mitchelmore in the Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation before that. (Terry Roberts/CBC)

Months before the gag order, he testified to Moss and told him everything about the Foote hiring.

Other witnesses would testify to a strained relationship between Mitchelmore and Brinton, even before the Foote fiasco.

Nov. 13, 2019

Bruce Chaulk, the commissioner for legislative standards, gives a recommendation to the Speaker of the House of Assembly stating Mitchelmore should be punished for how the hiring took place, and how Foote's salary was set.

He'd received Moss's report in August, and taken his time to comb through it before reaching his judgment.

The Speaker has 15 business days to table the report in the House of Assembly.

It's worth noting that that could have meant the report stayed quiet until the spring sitting of the House of Assembly.

Dec. 2-6, 2019

On Dec. 2, CBC News reviews a copy of the Mitchelmore Report and publishes some of the key details contained within it at 7 a.m.

By lunchtime, the House Management Commission has a plan to table the report and release the full thing. It's published online just after 2:30 p.m.

Mitchelmore and Ball field a barrage of questions for four days in the House of Assembly. It ends late on the night of Dec. 5 with an apology from Mitchelmore and a two-week unpaid suspension.

The controversy shows, for the first time, how the minority government stacks up against the opposition parties and independent members.

Independent Paul Lane votes with the Opposition, while ousted Liberal Eddie Joyce votes with his former party.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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