is tough to be kind to the Ball Administration. They cause members of the
public to label them “lame” and “dumb”. On what basis should they think
Liberals ought to have immediately understood the rationale for Nalcor’s
$900,000 parting gift to VP and CFO Derrick Sturge and stopped the move. Even a
modicum of intelligence would have helped them see through his “without cause”
departure, complete — the Uncle Gnarley Blog has learned — with
“Confidentiality Agreement” attached. The Agreement was key to the whole
arrangement. It would provide the assurance Nalcor needed that Sturge’s lips
would remain zippered about Executive complicity in Nalcor’s $12.7 billion
Liberals failed to see (or didn’t want to) that the decision served only
Nalcor’s interest and conflicted with the public interest.
four years in Cabinet, Siobhan Coady is still slavishly repeating Nalcor’s
scripts. She possesses neither a sense of the ethical standards expected of
Crown Corporations, the judgement (ie, common sense) expected of a Minister,
nor an appreciation for the level of duplicity and deception which saw Muskrat
Sanction foisted on an uninformed public.
reply to a question from MHA Paul Lane in the House of Assembly on November 20th
Coady addressed the severance issue:
MS. COADY: Thank you, Mr.
going to stick to the facts of the matter in this case. There is no legal case
for cause I understand, Mr. Speaker. No legal case for cause therefore the
individual under discussion has a contract and he has paid out a long-standing
contract that pre-existing contract that goes back to the 2000s, Mr. Speaker.
He's been paid out according to that contract.
ought to know that Sturge’s contract did not preclude the Board or the CEO from
dismissing him “with cause”. How dumb would that be! Nalcor simply chose
impunity for Sturge regardless of his laxity in the Muskrat Falls project. It
was a decision consciously and deliberately taken.
course, if the Minister was capable, she would have seen through the
Confidentiality Agreement. Sturge’s signature was far more important than any
consideration of the financial dark matter that his “not in the loop” behaviour
Nalcor, better that Sturge was happy than to sue them for the gain for which he
might have been justifiably deprived. Such an approach might have caused him to
get lawyered up and later to spill the beans in front of a Judge about the
pre-sanction period and afterwards, when an incredible amount of chicanery
occurred around Muskrat. Related: Paul Davis Kept Lid on Release of Cost Overruns Prior to 2015 General Election
remembers the 2% probability
of success given the project by Nalcor consultant Westney? Was Sturge aware
that Validation Estimating’s review of the Project estimates was cancelled
mid-Report? As CFO, did Sturge inquire about allocations for Contingency? Risk
assessment was one of his primary responsibilities.
Did he ask for or receive the Independent
Project Review given to Ed Martin by Dick Westney, which highlighted the need
for a significant Contingency?
Where was Mr. Sturge and why didn’t he
subdue Paul Harrington rather than watch his histrionics as Nalcor officials
kept EY away from performing a complete audit of the Project? Was Richard Noble
of EY not merely doing his job when he complained in an email, in 2015, to his
associates and to the Oversight Committee: “In my 17 years’ experience of
conducting project reviews and audits, it is highly unusual when assessing cost
and schedule management that you would be constrained from examining the
processes/basis of plans and estimates to start with. These underpin cost and
schedule performance and its management. Everyone knows that.”
Does not the EY affair — alone — speak to
why Sturge’s severance should have been denied?
Siobhan Coady closed her ears to those
Who is she protecting?
retiring public servant, even one with a dubious attachment to the nearly $1
million severance, might be inspired to tell all in a Court of Law in support
of his claim. He may entangle other Nalcor executives and cause them to come
clean about the whole tawdry story around Muskrat. A Supreme Court Judge would
have no hesitation reminding them that perjury is paid with ‘hard time’.
Perhaps some of them watched Ambassador Sondland in front of the Senate
Committee testifying to Trump’s duplicity on Ukraine, and they may have noted
that he eschewed partisanship, choosing the truth rather than the gaol.
Undoubtedly, there are employees at Nalcor below the rank of Executive whose
tongues could be loosened under the same threat.
it stands, Nalcor has their “Confidentiality Agreement” from Mr. Stuge and he
has the $900,000.
public has been screwed again. Perhaps someone of Siobhan’s minor heft has no
ulterior motive; the Minister is just being herself.
this “lame” and “dumb” Government, one thing is certain: this Minister won’t be
the one who figures out what just happened.