Maureen MacDonald (Halifax Needham)
NDP Education Critic
June 30, 2000
LEGERE APPOINTMENT AS SCHOOL
BOARD BOSS IS "UNBELIEVABLE" - NDP
- 30 -
Halifax - NDP Education Critic Maureen MacDonald says
it's unbelievable that former Tory Cabinet Minister Leroy Legere
has been appointed without competition to head up the Southwest
Regional School Board.
"Leroy Legere was Minister of Labour when the Westray Mine
blew up," says MacDonald. "The public inquiry showed
his department was in a shambles. This CEO position is one of
enormous responsibility and power that requires someone who is
outstanding. Leroy Legere was practically run out of office because
of the incompetence he demonstrated over Westray."
Legere was Minister of Labour from February 1991 to November
1992. In his report on the Westray Mine Disaster, Justice Peter
Richard said that Legere "appeared to have a confused and
uncertain appreciation of his role as a minister of the crown",
that he had "little understanding of the operation of the
Occupational Health and Safety Division of the Department of
Labour" and that it was incumbent on Legere "to keep
informed and to ensure that adequate remedial action was taken"
once he was informed of deficiencies in his department things
Legere failed to do. (All quotations taken from Vol. 2, pp.
529-530, of the inquiry report.)
"When the Southwest Regional School Board was being restructured
in the last sitting of the House, we proposed an amendment that
would have required an open, merit- based competition for the
CEO," said the NDP MLA. "Now we know why Jane Purves
and John Hamm refused to accept our amendment. They must have
had Leroy Legere in mind all along. A six-figure salary handed
to a disgraced Tory Cabinet Minister, without any competition.
And that's after they hire a former Tory leader from New Brunswick
as Deputy Minister. Don't these people have any shame?"
The Southwest Regional School Board has over 18,500 students
and covers Digby, Yarmouth, Shelburne, Queens and Lunenburg counties.
Under amendments to the Education Act passed in the last
sitting of the legislature, the CEO is no longer accountable
to an elected school board. The CEO now reports directly to the
Deputy Minister of Education.