ROTHESAY – As Liberal candidate John Wilcox campaigns in the Rothesay by-election, he's finding there is confusion around the explanations the Tories have given regarding the appointment of the riding’s former MLA, Margaret-Ann Blaney, to CEO of Efficiency New Brunswick .
“This issue keeps coming up as I go door to door,” Wilcox said. “It’s become a source of embarrassment for the people of Rothesay, and the Tories keep making things worse by coming up with a new explanation every day.
“The bottom line is it was the wrong thing to do and no one in government can stand up and admit it.”
The day Blaney resigned as Rothesay MLA she was made CEO of Efficiency NB by Premier Alward. There was no competition posted for the job, which commands one of the highest salaries in the civil service.
During a budget debate in the legislature this spring, the minister responsible for Efficiency NB, Bruce Fitch, said his party saved taxpayers $200,000 a year by eliminating the position of CEO of Efficiency NB, noting the duties were to be handled by an existing deputy minister.
A few weeks later, Alward announced Blaney was appointed to the job that had been eliminated. Last week, Deputy Premier Paul Robichaud claimed the position had not been eliminated, directly contradicting his fellow cabinet minister Fitch.
The Conservatives promised to eliminate patronage during the 2010 provincial election campaign.
”I don’t agree with it, and I have yet to meet anyone who agrees with it during this campaign,” Wilcox said.