February 17, 2010      HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY MANAGEMENT COMMISSION     No. 25


The Commission met at 9:00 a.m. in the House of Assembly.

MR. SPEAKER (T. Osborne): Welcome everybody.

We would like to welcome the folks who are viewing by television. Welcome to all of those around the table, and we will start with introductions.

I am Tom Osborne, Deputy Speaker, filling in for Roger Fitzgerald today who is away on other business. We will start to my left with Marlene Lambe.

MS LAMBE: Marlene Lambe, Chief Financial Officer.

MR. KENNEDY: Jerome Kennedy, MHA, Carbonear-Harbour Grace.

MR. RIDGLEY: Bob Ridgley, MHA, St. John’s North.

MR. KELVIN PARSONS: Kelvin Parsons, MHA, Burgeo & La Poile, Opposition House Leader.

MS KEEFE: Marie Keefe, Clerk’s Office.

MR. MACKENZIE: Bill MacKenzie, Clerk.

MR. SPEAKER: We have four items on the agenda today. We will start with Tab 1, which is the approval of the minutes for the February 3, 2010 meeting of the management committee. I trust everybody on the Management Commission has had a chance to review the minutes. I first of all ask if there is any discussion.

Bob Ridgley.

MR. RIDGLEY: Mr. Speaker, just in terms of 2010-005, "The Commission directed the Clerk to take all reasonable actions…" - I know what the discussion was and my intent was that even if we have to go to a collection agency or whatever. The term reasonable sometimes worries me, because it does not always have the same definition in all minds. So I just want it to be clear that it includes going to a collection agency or whatever.

MR. SPEAKER: Bill MacKenzie.

CLERK: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

What we have done so far is had some discussions with the Department of Finance. They keep this arrears table - the intercept list. So any monies being paid out, they would contact us first before they would have the cheque go to these three individuals. So we have done that as a first step, and we are in the process of writing the three to inform them of that. That may cause them to reconsider their reluctance to pay just maybe that. So that would be the first step, and then we will look at these other steps you mentioned.

MR. RIDGLEY: Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Is there any further discussion regarding the minutes of the February 3, 2010 meeting?

MR. RIDGLEY: Mr. Speaker, just also 007 there, I am not sure, do we have a time frame on that for the Clerk to talk to the constituency assistants? Would there be an expectation that it be done in the next month or two?

MR. SPEAKER: Bill MacKenzie.

CLERK: We have not started that yet, but we would certainly try to get it done in the next few weeks and see if we can bring it back perhaps in the March meeting. We will try to do it as soon as we can.

MR. SPEAKER: I do have a question regarding that. Will the discussion be with all constituency assistants or just those working in departments?

CLERK: Our intention was certainly to go to all or as many as we could contact. If we do not get 100 per cent, I guess that is not serious, but try to get both sides, departmental and otherwise.

MR. SPEAKER: Okay. Thank you.

Is there any further discussion on the minutes?

MR. RIDGLEY: I move adoption.

MR. SPEAKER: Okay.

Prior to asking for a seconder I will note, on the date, that the date is February 3, 2009. So we will ask for a correction on that to 2010.

CLERK: Yes.

MR. SPEAKER: We have a motion by Bob Ridgley. Do we have a seconder to that motion? Kelvin Parsons.

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: Adopted.

On motion, minutes adopted as circulated.

MR. SPEAKER: Under Business Arising and under Tab 2, we have a rule amendment - overnight accommodations. For the benefit of those who are viewing, under the Justice Green recommendations, it states that we need to approve the amendments in one meeting. Then the amendments are sent to all Members of the House of Assembly as well as posted on the Web site and then brought back to the Management Commission for final approval. I will ask if there is anything to add or any discussion on the amendments before we call for a motion.

Do we have a motion to accept? Bob Ridgley.

Do we have a seconder? Kelvin Parsons.

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

The next item on the agenda is also under Tab 2. It is another rule amendment and again this was approved at the February 3 meeting. It was sent to all Members of the House of Assembly as well as posted on the Web site and now back to this meeting for final approval. Are there any discussions on this particular amendment?

Can we have a motion to approve? Kelvin Parsons.

Do we have a seconder? Jerome Kennedy.

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against, 'nay'.

This rule amendment is approved.

The next item on the agenda is also under Tab 2, again a rule amendment. This amendment refers to modes of travel. It was approved on February 3 again, sent to all members and posted on the Web site. I will ask if there are any further comments.

Jerome.

MR. KENNEDY: Just one comment. I think we should make it clear that these amendments are made in response to the recommendations of the members’ compensation resource committee or whatever the name was. These are not recommendations where simply - things we are doing here ourselves. These are issues that were raised in that report and that are being addressed by us as a result of recommendations and issues outlined in that report.

MR. SPEAKER: Absolutely.

Yes, as Minister Kennedy has pointed out, these recommendations or rule amendments are as a result of the commission on members’ resources and allowances and recommendations by that commission, and simply being brought to the House of Assembly Management Commission for adoption as a result of recommendations made.

Do we have any further comments on this particular rule amendment to modes of travel?

I call for a motion.

Jerome Kennedy, a motion to adopt; seconded by Kelvin Parsons.

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

The third item on the agenda is under New Business; it is Tab 3 and it is Budget Transfer Request. This is an approval for a transfer of funds under the Transfer of Funds Policy. For some background on this – and I trust all members have had a chance to review the notes - the Transfer of Funds Policy of April 2008 requires that the Management Commission approve all funds to be transferred from one allowance to another expenditure.

There are two items here, essentially, with a number of sub-items. One is for $64,100 which is required by the Office of the Citizens’ Rep. for a number of different legal actions and professional fees. The second is an amount of $87,700 which is required in administrative support for legal and professional fees as well.

Do we have any comments?

Jerome Kennedy.

MR. KENNEDY: Yes, perhaps the Clerk can help me with this. When I look at the $64,100 that is required for the Office of the Citizens’ Rep. for the following legal and professional fees, the first one refers to the Acting Citizens’ Representative to conduct the investigation under the whistle-blower provision of the House of Assembly Accountability, Integrity and Administration Act. Is that the Bob Noseworthy investigation?

MR. SPEAKER: Bill MacKenzie.

CLERK: Yes, Bob Noseworthy, Acting Citizens’ Rep.

MR. KENNEDY: Okay.

So then my question becomes – now, I understand from what I have seen in the news that the former Child and Youth Advocate has gone on to another job. I thought that there were applications in court holding up the release of Mr. Noseworthy’s report. One: Are those court applications still ongoing? Two: If they are not, can we expect to receive the Noseworthy report? Because if we have paid money for a report we certainly should receive it, whether or not it - what potential relevance it may have may be another issue, but that concerns me; if we are going to pay money I would like to see the report.

MR. SPEAKER: Bill MacKenzie.

CLERK: Yes, the actions that Ms Neville had brought against the Citizens’ Rep., Mr. Fleming, and the Acting Citizens’ Rep., Mr. Noseworthy, those have been discontinued. Mr. Noseworthy now is just winding up his report, so we may get it in a matter of days.

MR. KENNEDY: But there will be a report provided to us?

CLERK: The report actually goes to the Speaker and Clerk, according to the whistle-blower provisions in the act; but, yes, we will receive a report.

MR. KENNEDY: Okay. So we will receive a report?

CLERK: Yes.

MR. KENNEDY: Now, when I look at the -

MR. SPEAKER: I would ask members, for the benefit of Hansard and for television purposes and so on, to be recognized.

Jerome Kennedy.

MR. KENNEDY: So, Mr. Clerk, then when I go through the next number, are these all related? These next - $20,000 for fees to a law firm; $7,800 - are these all in relation to the Child and Youth Advocate applications, for lack of a better term, or do any of them relate to the Fraser March investigation?

MR. SPEAKER: Bill MacKenzie.

CLERK: No, in this first $64,100 required for the Office of the Citizens’ Representative, they all have to do with the whistle-blower investigation and the legal fallout. So the $20,000, that is legal representation for Mr. Fleming, the Citizens’ Representative, because of course he was named in an action. The $7,800 is legal representation for the Acting Citizens’ Rep., Mr. Noseworthy. He was using White, Ottenheimer & Baker, and Mr. Fleming is using O’Dea, Earle.

The final $500 under the whistle-blower provisions of our act, any staff who are being interviewed or questioned by the investigator can request legal representation during the questioning. So, one of the staff members had legal representation during the questioning by Mr. Noseworthy.

MR. SPEAKER: Jerome Kennedy.

MR. KENNEDY: We go to the next bullet then, you see that there is another figure of $8,300 down below; again, that is the Child and Youth Advocate Office, correct?

MR. SPEAKER: Bill MacKenzie.

CLERK: Yes, we have broken it out into the activities which require the funds. The $64,000 and the four bullets that follow it, those are funds that are needed in the Office of the Citizens’ Representative budget activity. The $87,700 is required in administrative support activity, and that is the House administration. The $8,300 was legal costs we incurred in dealing with Ms Neville’s application to speak to the House of Assembly and with the request that Justice Orsborn recuse himself, and those sorts of matters. So that was outside legal counsel we had used as House administration.

MR. SPEAKER: Jerome Kennedy.

MR. KENNEDY: So, I see then there is $72,000 there. I wonder if the Clerk could indicate: Do we know the total cost, in terms of legal and professional fees, of these actions involving the Child and Youth Advocate, before I move to my final question?

MR. SPEAKER: Bill MacKenzie.

CLERK: I do not know that we have 100 per cent of all the sort of invoices in and so on. If Mr. Noseworthy, for instance, is still just cluing up his report there may be a few more hours on his part, but we can certainly come close.

I do not know if Ms Lambe has it with her, but we could compile that relatively easily.

MR. KENNEDY: Okay.

CLERK: Yes.

MR. SPEAKER: Jerome Kennedy.

MR. KENNEDY: My last question on this point: Other than what may be going on with the Acting Citizens’ Rep., have we received all of the invoices on the Child and Youth Advocate actions? In other words, is it over?

MR. SPEAKER: Bill MacKenzie.

CLERK: There are still a few loose ends. The application that Ms Neville brought to court was, I think, Ms Neville as Child and Youth Advocate. On the matter of speaking to the House of Assembly and the request that Orsborn recuse himself, and those sorts of matters, costs were awarded. The taxing master of Mr. Eaton considered the matter yesterday. We had our counsel there from Curtis, Dawe, so we will get a few more hours billing from that. I do not know if Mr. Noseworthy’s counsel has any loose ends, maybe a few hours there. It is very near the end but I could not state that we have everything on the matter.

MR. KENNEDY: Okay.

MR. SPEAKER: Any further comments or questions regarding this particular item?

I call for a motion.

Jerome Kennedy, motion to approve.

Do I have a seconder?

Bob Ridgley.

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against, 'nay'.

This item is carried.

The next item on the agenda is Tab 4, again under New Business, and it is regarding the Audit Committee. With the vacancy in the seat of Topsail by Elizabeth Marshall, and subsequently a vacancy on the Audit Committee, we need to appoint a new Audit Committee member and Chair of the Audit Committee.

Just a bit of background on this particular item: the Management Commission chooses two members for the Audit Committee and the Chief Justice also chooses two members for the Audit Committee. So we are simply replacing the vacancy created as a result of Elizabeth Marshall leaving the Audit Committee.

Do we have any comments?

Jerome Kennedy.

MR. KENNEDY: Yes, I would like to make a motion that Mr. Bob Ridgley be the new member on the Audit Committee.

MR. SPEAKER: Kelvin Parsons, seconded.

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

I will ask the Management Commission, as well, with the appointment of Bob Ridgley to the Audit Committee, to make a motion. I guess the particular briefing note is a little bit vague, but we also need to appoint a Chair of the Audit Committee.

Kelvin Parsons.

MR. KELVIN PARSONS: I nominate Bob Ridgley.

MR. SPEAKER: Okay. Do we have a seconder?

Jerome Kennedy.

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

Congratulations to Bob Ridgley. I am not sure if it is a role that I envy you in taking over, but congratulations to Bob Ridgley.

That concludes the business for this particular Management Commission meeting. I will ask, prior to adjournment or asking for a motion for adjournment, are there any other items that members wish to raise?

There being none, I will ask for a motion to adjourn.

Kelvin Parsons, seconded by Bob Ridgley.

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for those who have tuned in to witness the meeting today.

On motion, meeting adjourned.