NAPE (The Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees) is the largest union in the province and acts on behalf of 25,000 private and public employees. Jerry Earle, NAPE president, was happy with their victory as the government conceded and let their crisis PR consultant go in favor of using in-house communications and PR people.
Cathy Bennett, Finance Minister, recently announced the work would be done by their internal communications team (CBC) in future. The decision was made at the end of June. She announced, “Government advised [law firm] McInnes Cooper that external communications resources would no longer be required.”
Earle felt it was the best decision, but also said he believed, “It’s probably an admission that they have had some difficulty in being able to deal with collective bargaining.” In a previous interview, he pointed out that NAPE has always trusted their own resources in dealing with complex government negotiations. “I have confidence in our staff in collective bargaining. Unfortunately, it appears this government didn’t have the same confidence in their staff.”
NAPE and Earle have made it very clear they find the fees associated with both the Law Firm and Ms. Dornan’s representation to be offensive, especially since the government has been telling its citizens they need to begin doing without some of the basic services because the budget is tight. For them to go out and pay $60K to the law firm for a period of four months AND $40K to Dornan for her services over the same period is wrong.
Earle said, “The people of the province pay to have these resources available to their government and we have a government saying to the people across this province you have to lose services yet we have additional money to pay for a communication specialist.”
All of this should not reflect negatively on Dornan who has extensive expertise in crisis management for work place accidents, oil spills, and aviation disasters. She also had deep ties into the Liberal Party, acting as communications director for former premier, Brian Tobin, beginning in 1996 and going through 1998.