No one will say if province facing lawsuit over firing at The Rooms

If the Newfoundland and Labrador government is being sued by the former marketing director of The Rooms for wrongful termination, no one will say for certain.

Politicians have dodged questions. Two government departments have not answered questions from CBC News. 

Bernard Davis, minister responsible for The Rooms, deflected questions of a possible lawsuit Wednesday in the House of Assembly.

Instead, Davis steered the conversation toward improved success at the province's art gallery, museum and archives in St. John's. More people are visiting, he says, retail sales are up, and "there are exhibits that have been done." 

But has the person who was hired — then swiftly fired — as marketing director to make way for Carla Foote, sued the government?


Tory MHA Helen Conway-Ottenheimer:

"Mr. Speaker, no one on the government's side is talking about the employee who was personally impacted by the decision to hire Ms. Foote. I ask the minister: is there a statement of claim filed against government by the former employee who was dismissed to make room for Carla Foote?

Bernard Davis, minister responsible for The Rooms:

"I'd just like to talk about some of the positive things that are happening at The Rooms today. We've had the opportunity to make several changes at The Rooms over the last year or more," Davis said, ignoring the question. 

"We've had two executive director positions put in place: one that handles museums and galleries and one that handles marketing and development. We've also expanded the board of directors, all in an attempt to make the relationship between government and The Rooms stronger and better for the people of this province."

HR matter, says minister

When pressed for answers, Davis said he can't speak to specific human resources matters that happen "from day to day." 

"I'm a new minister in the role. All I can speak to is the impact that has happened at The Rooms over the past year. It's been positive," he said.

CBC News has asked the same question as Conway-Ottenheimer to the departments of Justice and Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation. So far, there has been no answers. 

Christopher Mitchelmore held Davis's role when Foote, a former senior official of the executive council, was moved into the position of director of marketing at The Rooms.

She received a bumped-up salary for a job that a person known only by the initials A.B. held for days, before being booted to make way for Foote.

Details of this change in staffing are outlined in reports by the Office of the Citizens' Representative, which are included in The Mitchelmore Report.


The marketing expert, with 25 years' experience, lost the job at the order of Mitchelmore.

Former CEO Dean Brinton said he was instructed by the deputy minister to cut the employee loose and that A.B. may have sued government.

The clue: Brinton said a claim letter arrived at The Rooms but was forwarded to the provincial government. 

CBC News has not been able to verify whether or not a lawsuit has been filed in court.

The information, contained in one of the dismissed allegations against Mitchelmore, also reveals that Brinton also did not follow proper procedure when hiring A.B. in the first place. He did not get Mitchelmore to sign a request for hire form. 

Meanwhile, the House of Assembly is still waiting for Mitchelmore to apologize for his actions, and debate continues tomorrow on what sanctions the legislature will hand down. 

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