3 executives booted from Alberta Energy Regulator

Click to play video: 'Investigation finds misuse of funds, scant oversight at AER'
Investigation finds misuse of funds, scant oversight at AER
Oct. 4: Three independent investigations have determined that the former head of the Alberta Energy Regulator grossly mismanaged tax dollars. Tom Vernon has the details – Oct 4, 2019

Three executive vice presidents with the Alberta Energy Regulator — an agency that’s currently under review — have been let go.

In a statement Wednesday, the regulator said “executive vice presidents Carol Crowfoot, Stacey Schorr and Mark Taylor are no longer with the AER.

“The AER board is committed to finding a permanent CEO as quickly as possible and will be working closely with interim CEO Gordon Lambert to ensure the AER continues to uphold its mandate to protect public safety and the environment.

“The board will also continue its work with the government of Alberta in its review of AER.”

Alberta’s energy minister said Wednesday there were layoffs at AER.

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“As you know, we’re doing a full review of the AER and its mandate, its governance structure, and its operational practices,” Sonya Savage said. “That review is underway right now.

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Savage would not provide details on a timeline or potential future layoffs, reiterating the review was still being done.

“We’ve had targeted round tables with interested parties — I think there’s been several of them across the province — meeting with industry, landowners, academics, Indigenous groups, environmental organizations to get input. We’re reviewing that, we’re reviewing online submissions, to move forward with some recommendations on what, if any, changes to the mandate would be of the AER, which would obviously then feed into how the AER should be organized.”

Premier Jason Kenney, fulfilling a campaign pledge, replaced the entire board with an interim panel and his government is reviewing operations.

Multiple government investigations, the results of which were released in early October, found the former head of the AER misused funds and abused trust by leveraging public money and resources to start a global consultancy group he eventually hoped to join.

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They say Jim Ellis and other regulator leaders fomented a “culture of fear” in a search to root out perceived whistleblowers and eased out one senior lawyer.

Click to play video: 'AER board member quits, claims he was targeted by UCP during campaign'
AER board member quits, claims he was targeted by UCP during campaign

READ MORE: Cover-ups, lies ‘a systemic cancer’ in world of oilpatch health and safety breaches: whistleblowers

Investigators estimate taxpayers are out about $2.3 million, most of it from lost salaries and travel and expense costs.

READ MORE: Head of Alberta Energy Regulator to step down in January

In September, Energy Minister Sonya Savage said the review will look at overall changes to the Alberta Energy Regulatory’s mandate, operations and governance.

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She said its current board of directors would be replaced with interim members.

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