UPDATE: Harbour Grace looking to fill vacated positions

Melissa Jenkins
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Town seeking candidates for stadium facilities manager and chief administrative officer

It has been just over a month since two high-profile employees with the Town of Harbour Grace unceremoniously vacated their positions.

Town of Harbour Grace crest

But the town is now actively seeking to replace them.

The facilities manager position at the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium and the town’s chief administrative officer position became available after two newly hired staff — Jennifer Janes and Ashley Janes, respectively — chose to leave their jobs, initially with no public explanation.

However, their resignation letters became public record on Feb. 13. The letters cited controversial and damning accusations within the stadium environment, and a fear for their professional reputations.

Jennifer listed feeling “threatened” as one of the reasons behind her abrupt departure, as well as objecting to go against her “morals, ethics and professional/educational knowledge.”

Ashley also wrote she could no longer “work within this framework,” citing she feared the “remedies to resolve this issue and move forward,” would not be implemented.

The details behind the resignations letters and threats have not been made public.

Mayor Terry Barnes told The Compass Feb. 26 he expects the recruitment to run smoothly, and have a qualified candidate in place as soon as possible. He hopes there will be no issues like the ones faced by the two women.

Barnes also said the positions were offered back to Jennifer and Ashley prior the recruiting process began. He explained they both “respectfully” declined.

Recruiting begins

Job postings for the two positions were published Monday, Feb. 24 in The Compass.

“We have to move ahead,” Barnes explained. “We have no other choice.”

So far, there hasn't been much public talk about the recruitment, but it has been suggested applications may be scarce due to the reasons outlined in the resignation letters and former chaos among council.

When asked about the concern that few applicants would come forward, Barnes said potential candidates shouldn’t omit their applications because of someone else’s experience, especially without knowing specific details. And he acknowledged some people will discourage applicants.

“There are always going to be negative people with negative things to say,” Barnes said. “But look at the positive things, and let’s all try and move forward.”

Ideally, Barnes continued, he would like to see the new facilities manager hire someone to assist them with some of their human resources duties and anything else that might need the extra support.

Although not set in stone, he confirmed “we are looking at hiring more personnel,” and the new stadium manager would be a part of the process if it comes to light.

Other controversies

Without any details, the resignations initially set off a firestorm of controversial allegations from the general public, and finger pointing at town leaders.

Not long after, events at the stadium in the weeks leading up to the resignations became public, including an “unauthorized” Boxing Day event that led to the termination of a stadium employee.

During that time, there was tension developing in the council chamber.

Coun. Gord Stone had asked for Barnes to resign a week after the departure of the two employees during a privileged meeting. He previously explained he did it because he believed Barnes was not following protocol and was mishandling internal situations.

An example Stone gave included Barnes recommending to Municipal Affairs that Coun. Kathy Tetford assist with chief administrative officer duties until a replacement was hired, without input from council.

Since then, sources say, there has been a lot more progress within the chamber, and council members are trying to work together on common issues.

One of the progressions included posting the vacant positions publicly.

Barnes said after the deadline for applications March 18, the human resources committee will go through the applications and set up interviews.

“The committee will then screen the applicants and bring recommendations back to council to discuss,” he explained. “There should be several options brought before council, and one will be chosen at that time.”

Melissa.jenkins@tc.tc

Organizations: The Compass

Geographic location: S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium

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Recent comments

  • Bob
    February 28, 2014 - 08:26

    They can't be looking very hard- I don't see a posting anywhere.

    • Jobless
      February 28, 2014 - 12:45

      Good, time for the jobs to be filled. Lets hope they carry out a formative search and not just have the process so they can appoint their buddies or relatives to a job. There are capable people in our community, (not to mention many outside) who have the skill set and ability to manage the facility but should only do so under a board of directors. A board which will prevent any council interference and allow for autonomy. We have a great town, some fine councillors and a good future, but only with openness and accountability and not a secretive cover up situation.

    • Jobless
      February 28, 2014 - 12:49

      Good, time for the jobs to be filled. Lets hope they carry out a formative search and not just have the process so they can appoint their buddies or relatives to a job. There are capable people in our community, (not to mention many outside) who have the skill set and ability to manage the facility but should only do so under a board of directors. A board which will prevent any council interference and allow for autonomy. We have a great town, some fine councillors and a good future, but only with openness and accountability and not a secretive cover up situation.