Premier defends reassignment of civil servant criticized for Muskrat Falls lapses

The provincial authorities introduced Wednesday that Charles Bown is the brand new CEO of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Multi-Supplies Stewardship Board. (Terry Roberts/CBC)

The premier of Newfoundland and Labrador is standing by his selection for the brand new CEO of the province’s Multi-Supplies Stewardship Board, regardless of criticism of the longtime civil servant’s work throughout a important part of the Muskrat Falls venture.

Andrew Furey mentioned Friday that Charles Bown’s reassignment was made with the recommendation of the clerk of the chief council.

“I belief him in his present function and place,” he mentioned. “The clerk has the perfect line of sight into efficiency evaluations and alignment, route, future route of various departments. So I sought that recommendation and I took it.”

Bown had been the deputy minister of the Division of Tourism, Tradition, Trade, and Innovation since February 2019.

After serving as an assistant deputy minister and affiliate deputy minister within the Division of Pure Sources starting in June 2006, Bown was deputy minister of the division from September 2012 till December 2016, a stint that included the important planning and sanctioning part of Muskrat Falls.

Premier Andrew Furey says he trusts Bown within the new function. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

The hydroelectric venture was sanctioned in December 2012, and its value has doubled from the greater than $6 billion price ticket that was introduced on the time.

There must be penalties for misbehaviour of this magnitude.– Ches Crosbie

Justice Robert Leblanc’s ultimate report for the Muskrat Falls inquiry, launched in mid-March, was deeply important of Bown’s involvement within the venture.

Mr. Bown was [the government of Newfoundland and Labrador‘s] level individual and conduit for data from Nalcor on the venture. It’s seemingly that he, too, was conscious of a rise in the price estimate of the venture earlier than monetary shut however he did not take any steps to advise the minister of pure assets and the premier. His failure to report this data to his minister is inexcusable.”

Conservative chief blasts determination

Progressive Conservative Chief Ches Crosbie mentioned Friday that Bown’s appointment to a brand new authorities job is unacceptable.

“It is an instance of the Liberal authorities not appearing on ethical imperatives and persevering with to practise inappropriate patronage,” mentioned Crosbie.

Progressive Conservative Chief Ches Crosbie says Bown should not have a authorities job, following his involvement within the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric venture. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

Crosbie mentioned Bown should not be working for the provincial authorities.

“There must be penalties for misbehaviour of this magnitude.”

Bown’s pay

The Telegram was first to report particulars of Bown’s compensation in his new place.

The premier’s workplace instructed CBC information Friday that Bown’s wage in his new function is $177,287. The premier’s workplace mentioned Bown is being paid the identical quantity he was paid as a deputy minister and due to contractual obligations he cannot be paid much less. 

The wage of the final CEO of the MMSB, Dara Spurrell, was $148,000 — nearly $30,000 lower than Bown. In 2013, Mike Sampson, was paid $168,000 within the function, and in 2009, then CEO Lee Puddister was paid $173,000 yearly.

Furey declined to touch upon Bown’s compensation Friday.

“I am unable to talk about particulars of contracts. I’m the employer however this isn’t a contract that I created. Nevertheless it’s one which I’m sure by,” he mentioned.

Demotion?

NDP Chief Alison Coffin advised Bown’s new job is a demotion.

NDP Chief Alison Coffin suggests Bown’s new job is a demotion. (Mark Quinn/ CBC)

“He is definitely been moved from a place the place he would have that [higher] stage of accountability to a much less accountable place, which definitely provides you an excellent sense of how the Liberal authorities sees this and what they worth by way of the individuals they need working with them,” she mentioned.

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