July 28, 2016 5:32 pm

N.S. liberals reject motion to hold emergency meeting on hiring practices

The Liberals are rejecting a motion for an emergency public accounts committee meeting to look into government hiring practices for senior bureaucrats.

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Liberal MLAs on the province’s public accounts committee are rejecting a request from the Progressive Conservative party to hold an emergency meeting on the government’s hiring practices.

The opposition is crying foul over the hiring of Former Chronicle Herald columnist Marilla Stephenson, who was awarded a permanent position in the Executive Council Office in June.

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Documents obtained by the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union show one email from staff saying the newly-created position was Stephenson’s before the job was posted.

Another email in the same document, released through access to information, show Stephenson was consulted on the job description for the position.

Liberal MLAs would have had to agree to the Tory motion for a meeting to go ahead, and Liberal caucus chair Iain Rankin said that would not happen.

In an emailed statement, Rankin said “the subject matter does not in any way constitute an emergency nor is Public Accounts the proper venue for this particular discussion.”

Progressive Conservative MLA Tim Houston requested the emergency meeting in a letter to the chair of the public accounts committee.

Houston said the meeting is necessary because the emails suggest that hiring practices for senior public servants “do not meet the tests of fairness, consistency and transparency that Nova Scotians expect and deserve.”

Rankin said the human resources committee is the appropriate venue for the discussion.

A spokesperson for the Liberal caucus wouldn’t comment on whether Liberals on the human resources committee would support the motion for senior staff from the Executive Council and Public Service Commission to speak to the committee.

The human resources committee meets next on August 30.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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