Over $27,000 Paid to McInnes Cooper by Government in July – Total Passes $125,000

For Immediate Release:

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

ST. JOHN’S, NL– Records released to the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (ATIPPA) show that the provincial government paid out over $27,000 to McInnes Cooper law firm and crisis communications consultant Cathy Dornan for the month of July.

This brings the total for services rendered thus far to: $129,789.88.

The government hired the services of McInnes Cooper, a law firm that specializes in labour law, as well as Cathy Dornan, a crisis management and communications specialist with strong ties to the Liberal party, to deal with public sector negotiations. The contract means the province is spending $350 or more per hour on the upcoming set of public sector negotiations. This amount is on top of what they are spending on their current staff who normally handles negotiations and communications. The arrangement with Ms. Dornan was severed at the end of June following public outcry on the matter.

The ATIPP request filed by NAPE shows that the government paid $27,911.36 to McInnes Cooper and Ms. Dornan for services rendered for the month of July. This amount includes $20,125.00 for the services of Ms. Dornan alone. While the government severed its ties with Ms. Dornan at the end of June, after details of her lucrative deal with government surfaced, NAPE believes this amount is for the previous month’s work performed by Ms. Dornan.

“In three months, during a time when people were being laid off, services being cut, and offices closed, this government paid Ms. Dornan approximately $60,000,” said NAPE President Jerry Earle. “This is a colossal waste of money that, frankly, doesn’t pass the sniff test. To put it into perspective, this is about $7,000 more than the average working person makes in this province in a year and almost three times what a minimum wage earner makes a year.”

Information released in separate ATIPP requests earlier this week showed that Ms. Dornan was duplicating work that is normally done by the in-house communications staff on matters unrelated to public sector bargaining.

“NAPE and the people of the province were told that Ms. Dornan was taken on contract with McInnes Cooper to provide advice on communications regarding collective bargaining – that was bad enough. Now we find out that Ms. Dornan was writing tweets for government and doing presentations for the Minister of Finance for groups like chartered accountants. All while billing taxpayers about $19,000 a month,” said Earle. “NAPE will continue to file access requests so the people of the province can know how their tax dollars are being wasted in this fashion. The people of the province deserve to know how much this government is spending to line the pockets of their friends to take on their own workers and the unions that represent them.”

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For further information, please contact:

Keith Dunne, NAPE Campaigns and Communications Coordinator

(phone) 709.570.2501    (cell) 709.631.9737         (email)