January 11, 2019 3:32 pm
Updated: January 11, 2019 4:06 pm

Ford recommends top staffer for high-paid Ontario Energy Board position

Conservative party staffer Jenni Byrne recommended for energy board position.

A A

ORONTO – A top staffer to Ontario Premier Doug Ford is leaving her post for a high-paid appointment with the province’s energy regulator, the latest in what the Opposition calls a series of cushy jobs for Doug Ford’s friends.

Ford has recommended Jenni Byrne, who has served as his principal secretary, become a full-time member of the Ontario Energy Board.

That’s a two-year term that comes with an annual salary of about $197,000, the premier’s office said.

Story continues below

NDP critic Peter Tabuns called it “another ticket on (Ford’s) gravy train.”

READ MORE: I have ‘absolute confidence’ in my chief of staff: Ford

“Doug Ford trades in favours and backroom deals, and clearly, he wants to make sure the people who are supposed to be independent from politicians – from police to energy regulators – are loyal to him,” Tabuns said in a statement.

“Stacking the OEB with his buddies and turning our energy decision-making body into a dumping ground for Ford loyalists diminishes its independence, and will have major consequences for Ontario’s energy sector.”

Ford family friend Ron Taverner has been named Ontario Provincial Police commissioner, though the appointment has been delayed pending an investigation by the integrity commissioner. A deputy OPP commissioner is trying to get the courts to order the Ontario ombudsman to investigate as well, citing concerns about political interference.

Taverner initially did not meet the requirements listed for the commissioner position. The Ford government has admitted it lowered the requirements for the position to attract a wider range of candidates.

READ MORE: Ford says he wasn’t involved in hiring of family friend Ron Taverner as OPP commissioner

Past Progressive Conservative party president Rueben Devlin was granted a three-year term as a health-care adviser, Ford campaign adviser Ian Todd was appointed Ontario’s trade representative to the United States, with a $350,000 salary, and Ford family lawyer Gavin Tighe was appointed to the Public Accountants Council.

Byrne, who was Ford’s director of field operations during last year’s election and who also ran former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s campaigns in 2011 and 2015, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(The Canadian Press)

© 2019 The Canadian Press

Report an error

Comments

Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.