EDMONTON, AB – Premier Rachel Notley is following the path set by the PCs by politicizing the senior civil service with a patronage appointment for an NDP partisan, the Wildrose Official Opposition said (Tuesday).
An order in council passed by the NDP cabinet on May 28 created a top level job in the bureaucracy for John Heaney, a key member of Premier Notley’s transition team and the former chief of staff to the NDP caucus in BC. Heaney has been a controversial NDP political operative for former BC NDP premiers Mike Harcourt and Glen Clark, and for BC NDP leaders Adrian Dix and John Horgan.
Heaney will take on the newly created role of “Associate Deputy Minister of Policy and Planning,” and will receive pay of up to $287,000 per year, making his position one of the highest paid jobs in the Alberta government. The same order in council made it clear that Heaney is in line for a $7,000 raise next year like the rest of the senior civil service.
“The creation of this very expensive new position was based entirely on political motives. The problem with the senior levels of the civil service is too much politicization, and Premier Notley is making things worse,” Wildrose Shadow Minister for Finance Derek Fildebrandt said. “We were promised a new way of doing things by the NDP. This is not what Albertans were expecting.”
Wildrose Democracy and Accountability Shadow Minister Jason Nixon said the created post doesn’t come close to passing the smell test.
“Senior jobs in the bureaucracy shouldn’t be political rewards for insiders and friends, they should be based on merit and decided by open public hiring competitions,” Nixon said. “If this job needs to exist, it should be in the Premier’s office, not in the non-partisan civil service.”