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Major shakeup in Newfoundland and Labrador government structures, personnel

Minister of Finance Tom Osborne addressed the Bay St. George Chamber of Commerce at a luncheon meeting in Days Inn on Thursday.
Minister of Finance Tom Osborne. - Frank Gale file photo/The Western Star

Changes include swath of new assistant deputy ministers, reimagining of Department of Finance

A major shakeup at three departments of the provincial government aims for more efficiency within departments.

On Jan. 18, a number of cabinet orders rearranged departments and duties within the Human Resource Secretariat (HRS), the Department of Finance, and the Department of Service Newfoundland and Labrador.

The HRC is now split into two divisions: operational support and governance, and client support and consulting.

“The new deputy minister looked at the complaints we were getting from some departments on the fact that things weren’t flowing as smoothly in dealing with HRS as they could be." — Tom Osborne

Finance Minister Tom Osborne, who oversees the HRS along with Finance, says the changes were prompted by a review by the deputy minister, who found room for more efficiency within the department.

“The new deputy minister looked at the complaints we were getting from some departments on the fact that things weren’t flowing as smoothly in dealing with HRS as they could be,” said Osborne.

“He analyzed that, looked at where efficiencies could be put in place, better alignment of subdivisions within divisions, and that was the overall outcome.”

There are no job losses associated with the shifts within each department. Instead, new assistant deputy ministers have been assigned to oversee each of the new subdivisions of the departments, in an effort to streamline the bureaucracy, Osborne said.

Tina Follett is now assistant deputy minister (ADM) responsible for operation support and governance after her initial appointment as ADM within the department in 2012.

Elizabeth Lane takes on client support and consulting after joining the department in August 2018. There are no salary increases associated with either reappointment.

Within the Department of Finance, four new subdivisions have been created: financial planning and benefits administration; economic, fiscal and statistics; the office of the comptroller general; and policy, planning and corporate services.

Gail Boland will take on the role of ADM for policy, planning and corporate services, with a 10 per cent raise associated with the new role.

There are no estimates available of how the changes might see reduced spending within the government, but Osborne says it’s part of continuing work to change the structure of government.

Elsewhere, two new divisions within Service NL were created as part of the switch: regulatory affairs, with takes in the vital statistics division, and a government services division, which includes the occupational health and safety division.

Alan Doody is now ADM for the government services division, while Michael Delaney will handle regulatory affairs. Both will approximately maintain their rate of pay. Delaney is also currently superintendent of pensions, but a replacement will be found for him in that role in the near future.

The ADM shakeup continues across departments.

Rolf Pritchard was confirmed as ADM of legal services within the Department of Justice, after serving in an acting capacity since 2017.

John Cowan will now serve as assistant secretary to cabinet on economic policy. Cowan’s previous role was as ADM of energy policy in the Department of Natural Resources.

Chad Blundon is now assistant secretary to cabinet on social policy on an acting basis – a new appointment within government for Blundon.

Debbie Dunphy will serve as ADM for corporate services and policy within the Department of Advanced Education, Skills, and Labour. She was placed in that role on an acting basis in November 2015 and reappointed in an acting position twice more in 2016 and 2017 before officially taking the post with the current shakeup.

Gillian Skinner was also affirmed as ADM for regional development and diversification within the Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation after serving on an acting basis since 2017.

Corey Snook is now ADM of energy within that department, on an acting basis, with a 10 per cent raise applied from his previous role. This is his first position at the ADM level.

Tanya Noseworthy is now ADM of corporate and strategic services within the Department of Natural Resources, having previously served as ADM of policy and planning in the department since 2011.

Susan Squires is now ADM of environment with the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment, a new appointment within government for Squires.

Michelle Snow is now ADM of workforce development, labour and immigration, another new face within government at the ADM level.

Linda Clemens Spurrell is now ADM of child and youth services within the Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development on an acting basis. Her appointment is effective Feb. 18.

No release was issued to outline the changes to the public, aside from listing cabinet orders on the government website.

Twitter: DavidMaherNL

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